New, Larger Coastal Family Health Center Opening In Biloxi

Patti Ziz has seen a lot in her 25 years with Coastal Family Health Center.

"We have our optometry and dental area in this area," says Ziz, walking through the new building.

But she's never seen anything like this new facility that will officially become their new permanent home in just a little more than a month.

"We have suites for each medical provider and their exam rooms," says Ziz.

Ziz joined some of the 200 other employees for a first look at the new Coastal Family Health Center in Biloxi.

"There's very few people who have been in here other than the construction people," says Executive Director Joe Dawsey.

Dawsey says this $4 million, 20,000 square foot facility will include all the services their patients have come to expect.

"We'll have pediatric and adult medicine, dental, optometry, x-ray and the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy."

And Dawsey says their move here during the next few months will mean a move from their temporary locations, scattered across Biloxi by Hurricane Katrina.

"Today, those I named are in six different locations," says Dawsey. "It will bring us all back into one location."

What hasn't changed is their mission of serving the uninsured and under-insured of the Gulf Coast. It's a mission they've carried on with virtually no interruption since the hurricane destroyed their original home.

"We just had to work were ever we could find a place to work, which sometimes was the back of a car," says Dawsey. "So I hope they'll be happy. We're making steps and these are steps they can see."

It's a step Patti Ziz and the rest of the staff are thrilled to finally be taking.

This is one of three new clinics that Coastal Family Health is opening. A clinic in Bay St. Louis is already open, and one in Moss Point is scheduled to open in early January.