STORY

St. Gabriel Health Clinic Bridges a Gap in Prenatal Care in Louisiana

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No one is turned away from receiving prenatal care at this compassionate clinic serving people without health insurance.

Located between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, Iberville is one of the largest parishes in Louisiana. It’s also home to St. Gabriel Health Clinic, which for the past three decades has been providing comprehensive primary care services to the area’s underserved population. 

Designated a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2002, St. Gabriel fills a vital need in the community, offering preventive health services to people in this rural community—whether they have health insurance or not.

In addition to St. Gabriel, the clinic also offers care at Gardere Center, where people living on a low income can walk to receive services — a definite plus for a community that at times, lacks transportation to adequate care. 

Bates also reports that the clinic serves a wide range of patients — young and old, locals and people coming home to see their families, and undocumented patients — who trust and rely on the care St. Gabriel provides. 

“We don’t turn patients down because of a lack of ability to pay. We do not require patients to have insurance. We offer a sliding scale fee so that they’re able to come in without insurance at all and still are able to get the same services that we would offer to insured patients.”

Shambrel Bates, Nurse Practitioner and Director of Clinical Services

“I find that patients really like our services, and that’s kind of evident in their willingness to come back again and again,” she says. “So we’re able to not only attain our patients but we’re able to retain them as well.”

A Vitamin Angels program partner since November 2021, St. Gabriel is able to offer prenatal vitamins and minerals to patients right away, even before their first visit to the OB-GYN.

Gardere Center for Primary Care Services in Louisiana

“When I initially distribute the vitamins to the moms, they’re very appreciative because a lot of them don’t have access to prenatal vitamins through their insurance,” Bates explains. “The most pressing issue for our patients is access to healthcare. And I think that we do a great job bridging that gap.”

Some patients already understand the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and minerals, some do not. The clinic offers nutrition education at every prenatal visit, so they know how important it is to take those vitamins and provide the proper nutrients to their unborn child.

“The Vitamin Angels partnership is very beneficial to our community because we’re able to provide prenatal vitamins free of charge. “

Shambrel Bates, Nurse Practitioner and Director of Clinical Services

And when a patient needs to see a specialist that does not accept uninsured patients? The clinic helps them fill out Medicaid applications, so they can receive the care they need. 

“I think the major driving force for me becoming a nurse practitioner was seeing that there was a need in the community for practitioners just to be able to provide exceptional healthcare to patients,” Bates explains. “I feel that if I’m able to reach them through healthcare and make a difference in their lives, then I’m serving my purpose.”

We at Vitamin Angels are proud to partner with St. Gabriel Health Clinic as they provide such critical programs and resources to the very high-need community that they serve.

– Bridget Quanstrom, Senior Program Officer, US & Canada, Vitamin Angels