Port Arthur Health Department, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas teaming up for local women’s clinic

Published 12:20 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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Women in Port Arthur and surrounding areas who may not have the ability to get prenatal care will be able to do so thanks to a partnership between the City of Port Arthur Health Department and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas.

Through the partnership, expectant mothers will get the medical attention they need and not have to drive to Galveston to deliver a child.

Judith Smith, director of the health department, said the idea for a Women’s Clinic came a few years back while talking to a nurse mid-wife. Smith knew the need was there but the timing wasn’t right.

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The health department moved into their new location at 5860 9th Avenue in March.

Smith said there was discussion on using a back area of the employee clinic for use as the Women’s Clinic. There is already a laboratory at the health department for pregnancy testing.

“When you look at the big picture, you can get a pregnancy test, sign up for WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program). First time mothers are referred to nurse family partners and they can receive prenatal care instead of driving to Galveston,” Smith said.

Without the clinic, if an expectant mother has a problem they are either placed on a waiting list or do not have prenatal care in the first trimester.

“We feel like this is going to help with prenatal care from the actual beginning,” she said.

Smith stressed the need for prenatal care, referring to a recent CNN article that was released Tuesday showing the “U.S. has the highest rate of maternal deaths among high-income nations.”

The article showed 22 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in the U.S. in 2022, a rate double and sometimes triple of other high-income nations that year.

According to the Memorandum Of Understanding between the city and Baptist that was approved this week, the hospital is going to staff the clinic with a nurse practitioner and administrative help.

The MOU asks only for office space and the use of exam rooms. No city funds are required.