Rep. Phelan suggests St. Mary for local Veterans Hospital

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Is there a future for St. Mary Hospital in Port Arthur to serve as a Southeast Texas veterans hospital?

State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) believes so.

The District 21 representative, who serves Jefferson and Orange counties in the Texas House, sent a letter to President Donald Trump Tuesday suggesting such.

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He noted a lack of reliable health care options for more than 1.6 million veterans in Texas and asked for the Veterans Administration to consider buying or leasing two possible venues to establish a VA Medical Inpatient Hospital.

The two he suggested were Baptist Orange Hospital and St. Mary Hospital.

“There are over 22,000 veterans who live in Orange and Jefferson Counties,” Phelan said. “Sadly, we are unable to properly care for our veterans in Southeast Texas, because the nearest VA Medical Inpatient Hospital is over 100 miles away.”

Phelan said veterans and their families “desperately deserve” proper medical care.

In December, Christus Southeast Texas Health System said finalized demolition vendor selection and the early stages of demolition of St. Mary Hospital would begin by Feb. 1.

At the same time, it was announced Christus Southeast Texas Maternity and Women’s Center and the Christus Center for Health Management Clinic would remain inside the Gates Building, adjacent to the St. Mary hospital site.

Another service formerly provided at St. Mary found a new home at the Christus St. Mary Outpatient Center Mid County on Highway 365 and 9th Avenue.

Outpatient chemotherapy and infusion services were relocated to the newly designed facility in Mid County.

Christus Southeast Texas Health System also announced a partnership with the Port Arthur Museum of the Gulf Coast to develop an exhibit honoring the legacy of St. Mary hospital.