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Its Crawfish Seasonaaaaaa

atchafalaya_crawfish.0atchafalaya_crawfish.0atchafalaya_crawfish.0crawfish-1Get ready, we are having a crawfish boil! We are making all the preparations for our annual Nina Sicking memorial TAMU-Corpus Christi Scholarship fundraiser. This year we will raise funds by hosting a crawfish boil and bake sale on April 5th from 5-7pm at MEHOP located at 205 Ida St. in Bay City.
MEHOP established the scholarship through TAMU-Corpus Christi in memory of our co-worker Nina Sicking who lost her battle with Cancer. Nina was a Family Nurse Practitioner who had a passion for helping others, particularly in diabetic education. The scholarship benefits students from our region who would like to pursue a degree as a Nurse Practitioner.

Please join MEHOP in supporting such a great cause. Tickets are $10 each and include one pound of crawfish and side of potato and corn on the cob. Cakes and other baked goods will also be for sale at the event. Tickets must be purchased in advance and plates are for pick up only. Not a fan of crawfish? Not a problem, you can still make a monetary donation to our scholarship fund. For ticket sales or donations please contact Donna at 979-245-2467.

Raising the bar in Pediatric Careaaaaaa

Once again we have raised the bar of quality care! This time it is for our youth patients, ages 10-18. We have joined the Texas Youth Friendly Initiative (TYFI) which is a grant-funded project thaCohort 1t helps health centers better serve adolescents. Our Community Health Workers, Letty Tenorio and Toddie Garcia have been engaged with TYFI for the past eighteen months. As representatives of MEHOP, they were recognized with an award for their leadership role in the program from among seven other Health Centers. MEHOP Pediatrics is now eligible to pursue certification as Adolescent-Centered Environment Champions.

Complex Texas laws create confusion about the provision of confidential services. These challenges create roadblocks for young men and women seeking to access trusted, youth-centered, confidential care. Using the tools they had been trained on through the initiative, Letty and Toddie began educating youth, parents, staff and physicians on what each person’s role was in the youth friendly process. Understanding what could be expected from the beginning to the end of the visit was a huge help to youth and their parents.

A Youth Advisory Team was formed which consisted of MEHOP staff and a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was also formed which consisted of youth from our community. Each group met on a monthly basis to provide information and feedback. “Being part of the Youth Advisory Council has helped me, as well as other staff members, understand that adolescents do have questions regarding their healthcare. Many of their questions go unanswered or they are misinformed. Through the TYFI, I have learned what information can be provided to adolescents regarding their healthcare” said Letty Tenorio. 154385829

Letty conducted surveys and received successful feedback from youth and their parents. “We discovered that in our waiting area for MEHOP’s Women and Children’s Center, we targeted small children and women with adolescents being overlooked as far as a youth friendly space” said Toddie Garcia. To address the waiting area, a new separate space has been created for youth in the pediatric clinic. During the YAC meetings, youth members were able to select furniture, art work and color schemes that would appeal to those in their age ranges for the new waiting area.

To learn more about the program or to schedule an appointment with MEHOP Pediatrics, call 979-245-2008 ext. 500.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Hereaaaaaa

October – This is always a good time of the year to get in the habit of having your yearly well woman exams and mammograms if you currently are not on an annual schedule of doing so.

MEHOP offers a variety of ways, year round, to ensure all women have access to the preventative care and services they need to stay healthy.

  • We accept most individual/employer based insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • 3D Mammography provided by The Rose, a Houston Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, on site at MEHOP.
  • Free breast and cervical cancer screening services through the BCCS grant available for those who are uninsured through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The grant program provides quality, no-cost, accessible breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women.
  • The Rose also offers programs for uninsured women to help ensure all women have access to preventative care and services.

To schedule a well woman appointment, please call MEHOP Women’s Center at (979) 245-2008 ext. 403, 404 or 701.

To schedule a mammogram or to receive more information about The Rose or our BCCS grant contact Leslie Saldierna at 979-245-2008 ext. 505 or email at

Wharton Clinic is Open!aaaaaa

We opened our Wharton clinic on September 24, 2018. The clinic is located at Oak Bend Hospital, 10141 Hwy 59, Suite A, which is at the back of the hospital where the Cancer Center used to be located.

Clinical services are comprised of Family Medicine and Behavioral Health (Counseling). Patients can call 979-559-3550 to schedule appointments. We are still in the process of completing enrollment for our new providers, Kayla and Blake, with Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance carriers. Dr. Ambreen has been previously enrolled and is able to accept patients with all payor sources. If patients are uninsured, we have discounts available based on household income if eligible.  Patients can provide proof of household income, if they choose, to see if they are eligible for discounts on their fees for services.

Our providers are our Medical Director, Dr. Farhana Ambreen who has been with MEHOP since 2010, along with Physician Assistant Kayla Lezak and Licensed Professional Counselor Blake Benson.

Kayla Lezak (formerly Cerny) PA-C was born and raised in El Campo, TX. Growing up, she was involved in many sports and volunteering in her community. She graduated from El Campo High School in 2007 and decided to continue her educational journey in the medical field. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas State University with a major in Biology and minor In Biochemistry. She then went on to complete her Master in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas – Medical Branch in Galveston. Her compassionate personality and love of the medical field allowed her family practice career to successfully grow quickly after graduation.

Kayla is very excited to expand MEHOP into the Wharton Community. She will see a wide array of medical concerns such as: Well Adult Annual Exams, Well Woman Exams, sick visits, chronic illnesses (diabetes, hypertension), pediatric illnesses, and the list goes on. We are excited to bring PA Lezak to the Wharton community.

Blake earned his Master’s Degree at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida in 2012 and his Bachelors Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 2010. Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2006, Blake has been an active advocate for Veterans and community mental health issues. While earning his Master’s degree, Blake was the Vice President of the Wounded Warriors of South Florida 501c3 and also co-authored two research studies on the treatment of Veterans Mental Health, post service. Blake has focused his attention on the treatment of anxiety disorders, specializing in the treatment of PTSD and co-occurring disorders. Blake has treated clients in a wide range of settings including mental health facilities to outpatient clinics.

MEHOP is very excited to join the Wharton community and looks forward to meeting our new patients and seeing our established Wharton area patients in our new location.


Nearly $60 million Awarded to Support Community Health Centers Impacted by Hurricanes in 2018aaaaaa

HHS Awards Nearly $60 million to Support Community Health Centers Impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $60 million to 161 community health centers in six southern states and two U.S. territories that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Capital Assistance for Hurricane Response and Recovery Efforts (CARE) funding will help ensure continued access to primary health care services at community health centers in areas affected by the hurricanes.

“Health centers serve as lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These grants build on other HHS investments to ensure that health centers can continue to serve communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and strengthen their readiness to respond to the needs of the community after future hurricanes or other disasters.”

This funding was made available by the Bipartisan Budget Act, signed by President Trump in February. CARE offers capital assistance and support for minor alteration, renovation and equipment costs to assist impacted HRSA-funded health centers providing services in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“In the aftermath of the hurricanes, we granted affected health centers flexibility in the use of HRSA funds to ensure continuity of services and assist in recovery efforts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “This funding is the latest in HRSA’s efforts to support these communities as they continue to recover.”

For more than 50 years, health centers have delivered affordable, accessible, quality and cost-effective primary health care services to patients. Today, nearly 1,400 health centers operate more than 11,000 service delivery sites nationwide.

HHS awarded MEHOP $324,775.00. Funding received will be used to renovate facilities at the 101 Ave. F location in Bay City to better serve operational needs – meeting room, supply and procurement; purchase a satellite phone system to maintain emergency communications in the event traditional communication transmissions are lost and to re-roof  MEHOP’s administration and dental facilities.

For a list of CARE award recipients, visit:

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit:

To locate a health center, visit:

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Monthaaaaaa

One in 5 children in the United States are obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, MEHOP encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Include kids in meal preparation.

Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

  • Matagorda County has many after school and weekend activities available to keep families active. They include youth sports leagues, walking trails at Matagorda County Birding and Nature Center, public fishing piers at the LCRA Matagorda Bay Nature Park and along the Palacios bay front and multiple neighborhood parks.
  • Make routine visits to your child’s Pediatrician. Talk to their Pediatrician about healthy meal plans and tips to encourage your child to eat healthy and stay active. 

For more information on our Pediatric services, visit

U.S. Army and MEHOP Join Forcesaaaaaa

The U.S. Army and MEHOP are scheduled to sign a partnership agreement on August 28, 2018, as part of the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program at 1pm at the Bay City Service Center, 2105 Ave. M, Bay City TX. The ceremony is open to the public and a reception will follow the event. Music will be provided by members of the 323d “Ft. Sam’s Own” Ft. Sam Houston Army Band.

The PaYS Program is a strategic partnership between the Army and a cross section of private industry, academia and federal, state and local public institutes.  The U.S. Army PaYS Program guarantees Soldiers two job interviews and possible employment after their service in the Army.  The PaYS Program provides America’s youth with the unique opportunity to simultaneously serve their country and prepare for their future.

The PaYS program is designed to help Soldiers prepare for a career after the Army by connecting them with employers who understand the skills, discipline, and work ethic that military service members bring to a business.  This program is part of a long-term U.S. Army effort to help Soldiers forge professional relationships with businesses and encourage business owners to look to the Army as a plentiful and reliable recruiting source.  Since PaYS began in 2000, more than 770 employers have partnered with the program.

Mens Mental Health & Well-beingaaaaaa

Depression is under-diagnosed in men.

Why? To start with, men make about two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do. And even when we do see a healthcare provider, we’re often reluctant to talk about what’s really bothering us, especially if it has anything to do with feelings or mood. Plus, most men don’t realize that some of the physical symptoms we may experience —things like chronic pain and digestive problems — could actually be caused by a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress.

Then there are the men who know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a problem, but suffer in silence, afraid to admit they need help. They may be afraid others will find out their secret and they’ll be perceived as weak or wimpy or that they’ll lose their job.


Your mental health can be influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • Your genes (some mental health issues run in families)
  • Divorce, separation, or the breakup of a long-term relationship
  • The death of a loved one
  • Losing your job, or job changes
  • Going through bankruptcy
  • Moving to a new home
  • Coping with a natural disaster
  • Caring for an aging parent
  • The birth of your child
  • Being diagnosed and living with a serious illness, or suffering a major injury
  • Serving in the military, especially in combat

Mental health and your outlook on life can also change without any obvious cause. Sometimes lots of little things build up and the combination can be extremely harmful.


We all have our ups and downs. But most of us wonder at least one time in our life whether what we’re feeling is normal or whether we need professional help. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer that’s right for everyone. However, here’s a good rule of thumb: You need assistance if you’ve been having symptoms every day for more than two weeks and if those symptoms keep you from enjoying life, performing at work or maintaining relationships with friends, your partner or your children.  Untreated mental health conditions can get worse and may have serious consequences. You might, for example, damage your physical health. Or you could increase your risk of doing something to harm yourself or others. Fortunately with the right diagnosis and the right treatment, most mental health problems are easily resolved and you’ll return to feeling content with life and be better able to cope with its challenges.

Mental health is very important to your overall health and well-being. Eating a well balanced diet will keep your brain healthy and functioning well for years to come. Ways in which to help promote that include:

  • Omega- three fatty acids found in fish oils help prevent mental decline. These can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Omega-three fatty acids are also found in nuts and oils like canola, flaxseed , olive , and peanut . Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant.
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, eggplants, and dark fruits such as berries, oranges and grapes. These have high levels of antioxidants, which protect the brain from free radical formation.
  • Supplements like vitamins B-12; C, E, and folate may also help maintain a healthy brain.
  • Avoid saturated fats and high cholesterol foods.

To talk with someone about your mental health and well being contact MEHOP Behavioral Health at 979-245-2008 ext. 710.

Free Breast & Cervical Cancer Screeningsaaaaaa

MEHOP, offers free breast and cervical cancer screening services through the BCCS grant from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The grant program provides quality, no-cost, accessible breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women in MEHOP’s service area. Regular screenings by medical professionals is the best way to detect breast and cervical cancer in its earliest stages.

The grant provides clinical breast examination, mammogram and diagnostic services for those that qualify for breast cancer screenings. Qualifying woman may also receive a pelvic examination, pap smear, cervical dysplasia services and diagnostic services for cervical cancer screenings.

You may qualify for the free screenings and diagnostic services if you:

  • Live in Texas
  • Are 21 or older
  • Don’t have health insurance
  • Make less than the monthly family income limits listed below.

Family Size

Monthly Family Income Limit

(200% Fed. Poverty Level)









To apply and make an appointment, please call Cindy Guardado at (979) 245-2008 ext. 505 or email at

MEHOP Patient Advisory Committeeaaaaaa

Our Patient Advisory Committee is dedicated to the improvement of quality care for the communities we serve. The Advisory Committee is comprised of staff and patients/patient representatives at MEHOP.

Patients/representatives are often the most knowledgeable members of the care team, and can offer unique perspectives and valuable feedback regarding the standard of care they receive and needed services. Patient advisors represent the views of a diverse patient group, with members providing insight which represents different genders, ages, incomes, geographic locations, information from personal experiences and more.

MEHOP staff members share the insights gained in advisory committee meetings across our variety of medical disciplines, which include physicians, dentists,  nurses, safety, IT and managers.

This shared relationship enables the Advisory Committee, which meets on a quarterly basis, to:

Identify patient needs and concerns.
Provide feedback on current systems and processes within MEHOP.
Generate new ideas to improve the standard of care.
Act as catalysts to integrate patient-centered care within MEHOP

How Can I Become Involved?

The Advisory Committee meets once a quarter at 12 noon at MEHOP and lunch is provided. For additional information about the Patient Advisory Committee, or to become an advisor, please send an email to or call 979-245-2008 ext. 301.