PORT ARTHUR- by Ashley Gaston
Another option for affordable health care has moved past the design stage in Port Arthur.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency attended a groundbreaking for a new health clinic on the West Side of Port Arthur.
The number of families who need health care and the large number of industrial plants in the city led to plans for the new health care center.
Blanca Morales and her husband have been bringing their children to the Gulf Coast Health Center on Memorial Boulevard for five years.
"Earaches, stomach aches, virus, all those things," said Blanca Morales.
Monday, a doctor gave 3 year old Sophie a physical for head start.
"The doctors are great and the staff is good," said Morales.
Sophie is among 42,000 patients who visit the four health centers in the area.
The Gulf Coast Health Center will expand its services to the people who live on the West Side of Port Arthur. City leaders say it will provide affordable health care while helping to rejuvenate this end of town.
The Chief Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency joined community leaders in breaking ground on the new clinic on Ransom Howard Drive.
"The West Side Health Clinic will be a ray of hope for those who are insured, those who are homeless, the people who often bear the brunt of health issues and pollution," said Lisa Jackson.
Valero is funding the Clinic.
One reason the clinic is going up is because there are a number of refineries in Port Arthur.
"Pollution in our air and water leads to serious and costly illness like asthma, heart disease and cancer," said Jackson.
Jackson and those who will oversee the new clinic hope it'll offer some measure of protection to Sophie as she begins her school years.
Those who will oversee the clinic say it'll offer affordable health care to patients, regardless of whether they have insurance.
The clinic should be ready for patients by May of 2013.
PORT ARTHUR - Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is attending the groundbreaking of the Gulf Coast Health Center, Inc.
The clinic is part of the E.P.A.'s work with Port Arthur as an Environmental Justice Showcase Community.
Click here to read about Port Arthur Environmental Showcase Community
Click here to read more about 10 Environmental Justice Showcase Communities
Project in those communities target the environmental and health needs of lower-income areas.
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