Gulf Coast Health Center expanding women’s health services to Port Arthur, surrounding region

Published 12:30 am Friday, July 28, 2023

Gulf Coast Health Center in Port Arthur recently used grant funds to purchase an updated ultrasound machine to deliver more precise prenatal care at their main location.

The effort was boosted again in July when Texas Women’s Foundation awarded a total of $907,125 to 15 deserving organizations, in including Gulf Coast.

The grant funds are being used to expand usage of the existing machine in rural locations that has a high teen pregnancy rate and no specialized health care.

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Gulf Coast Health Center is expanding its women’s health services beyond the main center site in Port Arthur, and this latest grant supports women’s health mid-level providers to travel to the rural sites in Jasper, Orange and Silsbee to improve care delivered to the most rural residents and provide on-going training to providers at those locations.

A nonprofit, Gulf Coast is a federally qualified health center offering comprehensive health care services to uninsured, underinsured, low-income and indigent residents of Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton and Orange counties.

“This funding will help us immediately, for the rest of this year and beyond,” Executive Director Dr. Marsha E. Thigpen said.

Currently, local residents are referred to an OB/GYN provider upon diagnosis.

“With this funding, GCHC will be able to begin seeing patients further into their prenatal term by partnering with a local OB/GYN provider to assist with the supervision of the current mid-level providers,” Thigpen said. “This will save residents time and provide ease of care. The addition of prenatal care and expanded women’s health services is much needed in our area.”

In addition to the expanded prenatal care, Thigpen stressed that Gulf Coast provides affordable medical, dental, mental health, vision and nutrition care and low-cost medications.

Thigpen thanked Texas Women’s Foundation for the grant funds, adding it improves the care delivered in the women’s health department, specifically monitoring patients as the organizations expands services to include obstetrics with improved quality ultrasound equipment.

The funding

As part of its Health Care Access Fund, Texas Women’s Foundation launched the Reproductive Freedom Initiative in 2022 to deliver urgent and long-term women’s healthcare programming to communities that desperately need resources.

Dena Hughes, CEO of Triangle Area Network Healthcare, said the funds awarded are critical to the ongoing availability of and access to critically important pregnancy prevention tools that are safe and effective.

“We are excited to partner with TXWF to ensure Southeast Texas women and their families know that they are not alone in navigating and managing their reproductive healthcare options,” Hughes said.