• 88°

Partners in Primary Care settles into community; devoting more interaction to patients

Within the first two weeks of its opening, the Port Arthur location of Partners in Primary Care has generated plenty of interest from those seeking senior-focused medical care.

“With it being open enrollment, what we really anticipate is the majority of our growth will be in January, come next year, once our patients have had a chance to tour the facility, see what we have to offer, talk to Christine [deJongh, center administrator], talk to Dr. [Arnold] Carothers, talk to [nurse practitioner Sonya] Carothers, and be able to see the staff and talk to the ladies at the front desk and see our medical assistants and see how we’re different,” said Brian Garrett, Partners regional director of operations for Texas and Louisiana.

Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana, is a chain of medical offices specializing in treating patients 65 and older with Medicare Advantage health plans and providing easy-access facilities for those who have disabilities. Partners also accepts insurance from Cigna, Aetna, WellCare and Humana.

Partners opened its first five offices in the Houston area last year and expanded its footprint to Port Arthur with the opening of its 10th regional location at 8555 Memorial Blvd., Suite 100, on Nov. 2.

“I’m so excited,” said Dr. Brienne Loy, Partners’ regional medical director for Texas and Louisiana. “It’s a great location. The staff is excited and amazing. We put together a really good team there.”

Center administrator Christine deJongh demonstrates how a flatscreen can be tilted to make patient information easier to view inside an examination room. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 11-13-20

Dr. Arnold Carothers heads the medical staff in Port Arthur and has previous experience working in Jefferson County. His wife Sonya is one of the Port Arthur center’s nurse practitioners.

“Our experience has been great,” Dr. Carothers said. “We’ve had a lot of people come through to view the clinic, and we’ve gotten good response. We had a mobile unit out here where people could come outside and look.”

Partners boasts its ability to devote more interaction time to its patients than most other facilities. It also makes patient access easier during the coronavirus pandemic by having staff members visit them in their vehicles and facilitating virtual visits through Partners’ phone app.

“From a physician’s point of view, we have the ability to spend more time with the patients than you would get at other places,” Dr. Carothers said. “We have a bunch of ancillary staff, like the social workers and pharmacists and things like that, and that’s not just something you find at any other place. It makes it easier for me to do my job, and I can spend more time with the patients.”

Loy said Carothers is dedicated to the senior-care model.

“The time with patients is the biggest asset we bring to the table right out,” Loy said. “We want the experience at Partners to not feel like a doctor’s office. We want to be a place where it feels safe and comfortable.”

According to deJongh, Partners strives to be a community-based clinic in which its activity center can open for public use once it receives authorization following the pandemic.

Nurse practitioner Sonya Carothers, left, and medical assistant Mellery Turner work inside a conference area where health providers go over medical information for each patient. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 11-13-20

“We would like to have an education and health-related activities center in an effort to support our community members and our patients,” deJongh said. “We want this to be a fun place for the people we are serving, a fun place for community members to come and sit down and feel they have a place to socialize, a place to also go get their health needs met.”

Partners’ Facebook page includes healthy eating tips, access to its events calendar and general health tips. The Port Arthur facility celebrated Nurse Practitioners Week this week by honoring team members Patricia Walkers and Sonya Carothers, and it acknowledged community engagement representative Lois Roy and Arnold Carothers for their military service.

Roy helps Partners partner with a local food bank for food distribution to Life Church in Port Arthur and Cathedral of Faith in Beaumont.

Veterans younger than 65 who are disabled are asked to contact their health insurance agent to discuss the best possible options for treatment.

“If that agent is an option and it includes us, we’ll be more than happy to see them and take care of them,” Garrett said. “We thank them for their service.”

To schedule a tour of the Partners location or an appointment, call 409-237-6480.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.