Harlingen State Tuberculosis Hospital

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Harlingen State Tuberculosis Hospital
Established 1953
Opened 1955
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Harlingen, TX
Alternate Names
  • South Texas Hospital
  • Harlingen State Chest Hospital


The South Texas Hospital, founded to serve the twenty southernmost Texas counties, was authorized in 1953 as the Harlingen State Tuberculosis Hospital. It operated under the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools and opened in 1955 with a capacity of 518 patients. A follow-up clinic was also operated for indigent patients. The hospital began operating under the State Department of Public Health in 1965.

By 1967 the patient capacity was 234. In 1971 numerous changes affecting the hospital occurred. The Sixty-second Texas Legislature changed its name to Harlingen State Chest Hospital to designate a change in policy. Though it previously treated only tuberculosis patients, the hospital was now authorized to provide treatment for patients with all kinds of chest and respiratory diseases, particularly chronic obstructive lung disease. Efforts were also made to integrate hospital programs with regional programs providing case-finding and follow-up services.

In August 1971 an interagency agreement was made with the Rio Grande State Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation for the use of buildings and other services. In 1971 the outpatient clinic of Harlingen State Chest Hospital served 7,523 outpatients, and the hospital had a inpatient bed capacity of 262. On September 1, 1983, the hospital was renamed South Texas Hospital, to reflect another expansion in services. In 1993 the hospital provided medical and surgical services for those experiencing such nonacute chronic disease as hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory disorders. The institution has two inpatient units, one for tuberculosis patients and one for medical or surgical patients. The outpatient clinics see more than 2,000 patients a month and include general, pediatric, and subspecialty clinics. In 1993 only eighty-four of the hospital's 125 beds were funded by the Texas Department of Health.