AccessHealth Enhances Women’s Health Services

Laura Villegas, RN, WHNP-BC; Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA and Caroline Omori, APRN, FNP-BC. Photo by Nesossi Studios.

Laura Villegas, RN, WHNP-BC; Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA and Caroline Omori, APRN, FNP-BC. Photo by Nesossi Studios.

BRAZOS | Cover Story –

Quality health care is a key determinant in promoting a person’s wellbeing, and Fort Bend is fortunate to have an organization dedicated to excellence in providing integrated health care that is both affordable and accessible.

AccessHealth is a vital non-profit community health center improving the quality of life in our community by meeting our health care needs one patient at a time. And now, to further serve Fort Bend, AccessHealth has added a new OB/GYN clinic inside the agency’s main center in Richmond to better serve the community’s needs through all seasons of life.

Expanded Health Care for Women

Along with its new OB/GYN clinic, AccessHealth has added to its dedicated team of providers. Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA is an obstetrician and gynecologist who joined AccessHealth in September 2015. She provides prenatal care and women’s health services at the new OB/GYN clinic. She also provides delivery services for AccessHealth’s prenatal patients at OakBend Medical Center.

AccessHealth began offering OB/GYN services with Federal Expanded Medical Capacity (EMC) funding and local support from the Fort Bend Cares Foundation. Patient response has been overwhelmingly positive as evidenced by the growing prenatal patient volume, which has already increased by 18 percent.

Before adding OB/GYN services, AccessHealth contracted with a local OB/GYN group in private practice to provide delivery services for its prenatal patients. While this arrangement provided coverage, it did not provide the continuity of care that patients desired. Expectant mothers expressed their preference to receive prenatal care with the provider who will also deliver their babies.

Dr. Dixon-Shambley’s for Women’s Health:
Tips for Being the Best You Can Be All Year Long

• Get Moving: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise daily. It will boost your energy, keep your heart healthy and help keep your bones strong.
• Stay Hydrated: Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.  If you are not much of a water drinker, find ways to motivate yourself – maybe a fun new water bottle!
• Stay Rested: Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Develop good sleep habits by maintaining a bedtime routine and minimizing interruptions to your sleep.
• Go Green: Try to make sure you are getting something green with every meal.
Replace salty snacks with crunchy vegetables, or whip up a smoothie using spinach, bananas and yogurt.
• Stay Positive: Take time each day to reflect on the people and things in your life that you are grateful for.  This will help to keep your stress level down.

“As a direct result of adding OB/GYN services, moms have consistent care with a doctor they trust, and babies have a better chance at a healthy start to life,” said Carol Edwards, AccessHealth chief executive officer.

Dixon-Shambley earned her MD at Georgetown University and completed her residency at Baylor College of Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology. Effective March 16th, she was named AccessHealth’s Women’s Health Medical Director. Also within the Women’s Health Department is Nurse Practitioner Laura Villegas, RN, WHNP-BC,

who received her training from Columbia University. She joined AccessHealth in 2014 and has been providing prenatal care and women’s health care. Caroline Omori, APRN, FNP-BC is a certified family nurse practitioner. She completed her master’s degree in nursing, Advanced Practice Nursing and her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Texas Woman’s University. She provides HIV care as well as adult care in the Missouri City location.

A Holistic Approach

Patient Melissa Taylor and Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA.

Patient Melissa Taylor and Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA.

AccessHealth provides prenatal care to a minimum of 110 expectant mothers each month. There were 166 babies delivered last year through the program. Gracie Antunez, AccessHealth patient since 2010, recently expressed her appreciation for the quality of care she received at the new OB/GYN clinic.

“At AccessHealth, I received prenatal care from the same doctor who delivered my baby,” said Antunez. “I appreciate that consistency, because Dr. Dixon-Shambley already knew what had been going on with me from the beginning. She was always patient with me, even when I resisted treatment for blood pressure issues. She would remind me that we need to do what’s best for Karenina, and she always remembers my daughter’s name. It’s been a much better experience here than when I had my first two children at another facility in Houston. It’s more personal.”

Women’s Services: Affordable Health Care for Women

AccessHealth’s team of highly qualified OB/GYN and health care providers offer comprehensive prenatal care including health education and family planning. Their doctors, along with their support team, diligently manage and care for women’s maternal needs, gynecologic care and a vast variety of other obstetric and gynecology concerns.

AccessHealth’s Women’s Services quality care includes:

• Well-women gynecological care
• Routine exams
• Pap smears
• Family planning
• Prenatal and obstetrical care
• Illness prevention and treatment
• Gynecologic surgery

Antunez receives primary care services through AccessHealth’s Family Practice Clinic and psychotherapy services through AccessHealth’s Integrated Behavioral Health Program in addition to prenatal care and delivery services. This holistic approach to health care enhances access to services, improves the quality of care and reduces costs.

Providing Assistance

Laura Villegas, RN, WHNP-BC and patient Yadira Reyes.

Laura Villegas, RN, WHNP-BC and patient Yadira Reyes.

AccessHealth conducts outreach throughout Fort Bend County to reach expectant mothers, as well as women and girls of childbearing age. Patients are accepted into AccessHealth’s early prenatal care on a presumptive basis, meaning uninsured patients don’t have to wait to obtain health coverage before being seen. Patient resource coordinators assist uninsured patients in obtaining Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) benefits within the first few days of their positive pregnancy test.

Fifty-three percent of AccessHealth patients are uninsured. Uninsured women are less likely to receive regular prenatal care and thus are more likely to experience adverse maternal outcomes. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care. Early and regular prenatal care gives doctors the opportunity to identify and treat health problems early.

AccessHealth provides integrated health care services without regard to income or circumstance to improve the quality of life in Fort Bend County. AccessHealth is a United Way agency, and the main center in Richmond is recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

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