By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
When a patient comes to Dr. Greg Matter for heart surgery, they can look out the window to see Reba’s Ranch House where their caregiver is housed. The close proximity is vital for his patients during their recovery time in ICU.
“When patients are in the hospital, it really helps to have family around,” Dr. Matter says. “They are extra eyes and ears. I’ll walk in the room and they say, ‘Dr. Matter, did you resume his synthroid?’ It’s good to have family there during your critical hospital stay.”
For 18 years, Dr. Matter practiced at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, performing 250 high-risk heart surgeries per year—all while fighting the daily commute and fast-paced lifestyle in the Metroplex.
“In Dallas, I had a list of pros and cons—reasons to stay and reasons to go,” Dr. Matter laughed. “I was sitting on the tollway one day and I wasn’t moving in the traffic. I thought, ‘Wait a second, I don’t have to be here. I can be wherever I want to be.’”
Dr. Matter moved to Paris, Texas for a time before transitioning to the Texoma hospital. One of his greatest concerns, as it had been even in Dallas, was his patients and their families bearing the cost of traveling in and staying for their surgery. From pre-op to post-surgery and recovery time, the process typically takes 3-5 days.
Gas costs are a burden on his patients who would normally have to drive in for pre-op the day before, drive home, then return for their surgery early the next morning. If family comes with them, which he highly recommends, the added cost of a hotel for several nights is too much.
Plus, when a patient has to travel to their surgery appointment at 5:30 am, it’s not a good start to their journey. They come in stressed from the drive and the worry of running into issues, such as a flat tire.
Reba’s Ranch House and what it offers free of charge—and more of a home than hotel—is now the perfect solution for Dr. Matter’s patients and families.
“At the hospital, someone told me the families could stay at Reba’s Ranch House and their stay is covered by donations,” Dr. Matter remembers. “It became a major plus to tell my patients coming in from Midland and Lubbock and Paris and Broken Bow—all over—that they could stay there at no cost.”
Dr. Matter’s office contacts the ranch house in advance and ensures there will be a room ready and waiting for his patient’s family the day before the surgery. They can come in for pre-op the day before, then literally walk over for the surgery the next morning. It’s closer than where the nurses park and walk in.
Their family is within that same walking distance to watch over them during their recovery. Unlike in Dallas, they don’t even need to pay for parking.
With the ranch house, Dr. Matter and his patients have the best of the slower country pace and the benefit of Reba’s Ranch House while he helps people get well.
“Having the ranch house for my heart patients is just spectacular,” Dr. Matter says. “All my patients and their families love it.”