In 2017, Dr. Bill Gonzaba had a visionary idea to recognize senior citizens of San Antonio for their contributions and achievements.
For nearly 60 years, Dr. Bill has been transforming healthcare on the city’s southside as a primary care physician serving primarily seniors. From a one-room office on South Flores Street, Dr. Bill has expanded to seven clinics – including three comprehensive medical centers – making access to primary care and specialty physicians more accessible and affordable.
But, as a medical practice, Gonzaba Medical Group does much more than serve and treat patients. Dr. Bill has always believed that better health for seniors depends upon opportunities to engage with each other, exercise, and eat healthy. So, Dr. Bill has made community engagement for seniors an essential element of his healthcare philosophy.
For example, through a partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank, he created the Gonzaba Farmer’s Market to distribute fruit and vegetables to more than 1,000 seniors a month who might otherwise go hungry. He established the Gonzaba Events Center to provide low-impact regular daily exercise and educational programming designed especially for seniors. Quarterly dances with live music and free lunch draw more than 2,000 seniors per event for a day out of dancing and social interaction. These are just a few of the opportunities for seniors available routinely each month.
So, in 2017, Dr. Bill reached out to Rebecca Viagran, who represents District 3 on the San Antonio City Council, with an idea to designate every September into the future as Celebrate San Antonio Seniors Month. Councilwoman Viagran loved the idea.
“The Gonzaba family is one of the legacy families of southside San Antonio that does so much for seniors,” Viagran said. “I immediately embraced the idea of giving formal recognition to our seniors.”
Viagran sponsored the City Council resolution declaring every September as Celebrate San Antonio Seniors Month. The resolution expresses “an appreciation for valuable contributions of senior citizens to the strength, vitality and strong character of our city” and the “contribution of senior experience, wisdom, time and talent.” The City Council passed the resolution unanimously.
Dr. Bill, who advocated at the City Council meeting for passage of the resolution, was praised by Council members for his decades of work in the community on behalf of seniors.
Shirley Gonzalez, representing District 5, said she appreciated “the chance to celebrate our seniors and especially the Gonzaba family and their dedicated commitment to our seniors.”
Dr. Bill agrees that seniors are part of a special family.
“Here at Gonzaba Medical Group we have always believed that every patient is como familia, like family,” says Dr. Bill. “When someone seeks medical care they come to us with their hearts in their hands. This is the ultimate act of trust. Everyone deserves a medical home where they get Cadillac care at the lowest cost. We believe that our patients deserve the highest quality care that is measurable, transparent and accountable.”
Gonzaba Medical Group is the largest independent, physician-led medical practice in South Texas.
In 2018, Gonzaba Medical Group opened its newest Northwest Medical Center, just off I-410 on Culebra Road, which is focused on comprehensive care with urgent care services, radiology, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and specialty care available for all ages in the community.
In addition to its new Northwest Medical Center, Gonzaba Medical Group currently has two other comprehensive medical centers – the Main Medical Center on Pleasanton Road serving south San Antonio, and the Woodlawn Medical Center serving surrounding neighborhoods in the Woodlawn Lake area.
Most importantly, the Gonzaba Medical Group has earned a national reputation as the healthcare model of the future where the patient is at the center and a collaborative team of primary care physicians and specialists coordinate a comprehensive plan to keep the patient healthy.
The concept has become known as the “patient-centered medical home” – PCMH – where doctors spend the time necessary to get to know their patients personally and ensure that they get the right care in the right setting by the most appropriate provider and in a manner consistent with the patient’s desires and values.
The healthcare model goes beyond just treatment of symptoms and includes investing in community engagement and healthy activities for seniors.
“Medical homes focus on patients even when they’re not present at the office,” says Patricia Barrett, vice president of product delivery and PCMH for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). “The team takes a proactive approach to health rather than waiting for patients to show up at the practice when they’re sick.”
“We are known nationwide as one of the leading, independent primary care practices where the healthcare model of the future is being invented,” says Dr. Bill. “These are our values, our mission and our purpose in serving the south Texas community. And, we are proud to specialize in serving seniors and to partner with the City of San Antonio to celebrate our seniors every September.”