Port Arthur native turns family challenge into inclusive health clinic for community in need
Published 12:46 am Saturday, February 25, 2023
When Connie Wiltz was a child, she decided to enter the health care field to help her mother, who had epilepsy.
“When she would have seizures, as children, we didn’t understand,” Wiltz said. “We just knew that momma’s eyes would roll behind her head, and she’d start shaking and bite her tongue. Daddy would shield us from her, and she would be sick for days. She would fall. She would hurt herself. We didn’t understand. I always wanted to help. So I said if I ever do anything in life, I want to help my momma. So here you’ve got a nurse. Here I am.”
The nurse practitioner and Port Arthur native graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1991 and utilized the assistance of a local program for low-income individuals to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
And while attending Lamar State College Port Arthur to begin working on her LVN, she worked at the former Park Place Hospital.
“I had nurses that took me under their wing,” she said. “And I was always just so in love with the nursing profession.”
She worked at Gulf Coast Health Center and for a pediatrician while continuing school to obtain her master’s degree and certification as a nurse practitioner.
“I love children, and working at Gulf Coast opened the door for me to see the ins and outs and refine the skills that I had,” Wiltz said. “It helped me learn more and deal with the population that we serve, because it’s the majority. And then I said, ‘I want to do more.’ And then we had a pandemic.”
But in December of 2021, Wiltz opened the doors to Complete Health Care Clinic.
“I thought about what I wanted to do,” she said “As a health care professional, I’ve always loved the idea of working and helping people. As I advanced my education and worked for low-income clinics, I felt as if there was still more to be done.
“I wanted to be accessible to the community, and I felt this would be my return to give them something — making myself more accessible, opening this clinic and being one of those people that give back.”
The clinic is located at 2933 Park, Plaza Circle in Port Arthur. Call 409-728-0811 for details.
Now Wiltz’s focus is on healing AND helping the uninsured, confused and overall community
“I’ve seen people have to decide, ‘how do I buy my medicine and eat?’” she said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve been a part of it. I’ve had it happen to me. So I know what it’s like. And there are some medicines that work that are inexpensive, and you can eat and get your medicine.”
Complete Health Care serves as a treatment center and a liaison for those needing a specialist.
“Complete Health Care Clinic is here for any individual that is concerned about any new ache or pain that’s just not going away, things that are undiagnosed, things that are diagnosed and helping them to use maintenance medication, and change lifestyles one lifestyle at a time,” Wiltz said. “I teach my patients that you can do anything in moderation. You tell me if this pill is making you feel funny. Don’t just stop taking it; talk to me about it. Let’s see if we can find a compromise or the right medication that’s going to help you stay alive, live longer and help the chronic condition that you may have.”
The clinic offers a weight loss program, IV therapy and work with specialists in cardiovascular, endocrinology, psychotherapy and other specialties so patients can find the help they need.
Wiltz partnered with Judge Tom Gillam in helping with truancy among youth.
“A lot of these kids are having behavioral issues based off of things that are based off of their control,” she said. “And as a community, we have to extend our hands to help them, figure out what that problem is and have a resolution for it. Otherwise these young people will get into more trouble.”
Wiltz’s father passed away after 50 years of marriage. But her mother is living independently with some assistance.
Wiltz ensures her epilepsy is managed as best as possible.
“She wants to remain independent, and I want her to remain independent,” she said. “She loves doing her own thing. She loves cooking and doing what she wants to do. Not only does she call me her daughter, but I serve her as a patient and make sure that all of her medical needs are met.”