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Community Wellness Eventaaaaaa

We will host our first neighborhood wellness event on June 13th from 10am – 2pm at Amistad Park located at 10th St. & Ave. C in Bay City.

“This event is designed to reach people where they are, gain a better understanding of their overall needs and provide them with information about resources and services that can improve their overall health and wellness,” said Donna Huitt, Marketing Director of MEHOP.

MEHOP, along with participating partners United Way & Matagorda Regional Medical Center, will provide information and services at the event. Those who attend may receive free blood glucose & blood pressure checks and learn about free child safety seats, prescription assistance, supplemental nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), United Way programs & free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening services. MEHOP staff will be on-site to provide MEHOP eligibility/registration and appointment scheduling for Medicaid enrollment assistance. Free lunch will also be available at the event.

“MEHOP recognizes that there is much more to improving the wellness of our community than clinical care alone. A person’s overall health and wellness is impacted by many factors such as their environment, availability of everyday items such as food and medications,” concluded Huitt. “Our goal is to improve our community’s health and wellness by gaining an understanding of our communities needs and empowering residents through education and access to information and services that meaningfully impact their well-being.”

To complete patient registration with MEHOP bring photo ID, Social Security Numbers of all household members, insurance cards (if insured), proof of all household income for one month (if no insurance) and form of address verification (if no insurance).

MEHOP offers family doctors with extended evening and weekend hours (7am-8:30pm Monday-Friday, Saturdays 7am-4pm & Sunday’s 8am-12pm), behavioral health, pediatrics, women’s health, ophthalmology, and family dental services. MEHOP accepts patients with Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance carriers. For those who are uninsured, MEHOP offers sliding fees (discounts) based on household income.

May is Mental Health Month!aaaaaa

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally – it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

Did you know that Mental Health America (MHA) founded May is Mental Health Month back in 1949? That means this year marks MHA’s 70th year celebrating Mental Health Month!

This May is Mental Health Month MEHOP is expanding its focus from 2018 and raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme #4Mind4Body. We are exploring the topics of animal companionship, spirituality and religion, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions. For those dealing with a chronic health condition and the people who care for them, it can be especially important to focus on mental health. When dealing with dueling diagnoses, focusing on both physical and mental health concerns can be daunting – but critically important in achieving overall wellness.

There are things you can do that may help. Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy. The company of animals – whether as pets or service animals— can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to recover from illnesses. A pet can be a source of comfort and can help us to live mentally healthier lives. And whether you go to church, meditate daily, or simply find time to enjoy that cup of tea each morning while checking in with yourself – it can be important to connect with your spiritual side in order to find that mind-body connection.

MEHOP wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you on the path towards focusing both #4Mind4Body.

For more information, contact MEHOP Behavioral Health at 979-245-2008 ext. 710 or visit

MEHOP Scholarship Fundraiser a Successaaaaaa

MEHOP raised $4,945.00 at its crawfish boil and bake sale on Friday April 5th. The proceeds will go towards the Nina Sicking Memorial Scholarship at Texas A& M – Corpus Christi (TAMU).56635188_2166814980069025_4184127818021470208_n

“Fundraising for Nina’s scholarship is an annual event for us” said Donna Huitt, Marketing Director, we have hosted various fundraising events over the years and this year our staff decided on a crawfish boil.” With almost 400 tickets sold and an almost near sell out of baked goods, MEHOP will be able to make another sizable contribution to the scholarship fund this year.

MEHOP established the scholarship in 2014 through TAMU in memory of their co-worker Nina Sicking who lost her battle with Cancer. Nina, a Family Nurse Practitioner, had a passion for helping others, particularly in diabetic education. She was a nurse and diabetic educator for many years with MEHOP and made the decision to further her education in 2010 to respond to the needs of MEHOP and the community.

The scholarship is managed by TAMU and benefits students from our region who would like to pursue a degree as a Nurse Practitioner. “Fundraising efforts are championed and executed by MEHOP staff, said Celeste Harrison, CEO, and I could not be prouder of their desire to give back to the community.”

MEHOP is a 501(c)3 non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center with service sites in Bay City and Wharton. Services include Family Medicine with extended weekday and weekend hours, Behavioral Health, Family Dental, OB/GYN, Pediatrics and Vision for all patients. For More information visit or call 979-245-2008 for an appointment.

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.