PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center adds Ob-Gyn hospitalist program
 to provide 24-hour service

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center has added a new service to ensure that women in labor have access to the care they need, as they need it.

The Childbirth Center at PeaceHealth St. Joseph now includes an Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob-Gyn) Hospitalist program.

Hospitalists are physicians who specialize solely in caring for patients who are hospitalized, rather than those in a clinical office setting. Ob-Gyn hospitalists focus exclusively on providing care for women in labor and delivery. PeaceHealth worked with OB Hospitalist Group, a national physician group specialized in obstetrical care, to set up the program.

Leasa Lowy, MD, medical director for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Women’s Services, said the hospitalist program expands the existing network of support. "We work with our community’s Ob-Gyns, family physicians doing obstetrical work and certified nurse midwives to enhance continuity of care for pregnant women, new mothers and their infants,” Lowy said in a press release.

“The hospitalist program underscores our commitment to quality care in Women’s Services. It also allows us to offer vaginal births after Caesarian section delivery.” Lowy said many hospitals are unable to provide this support of the natural childbirth process.

The new Ob-Gyn program includes anesthesiology available around the clock. Cindy Preston, director of Women’s and Children’s Services, said that ensures women in labor needn’t wait for pain relief. But she stressed that hospitalists would not replace a woman’s own ob-gyn. The Ob Hospitalist extends the safety net for private practice obstetricians, but does not replace them.

“The hospitalists, who are board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, will be available to supplement care already provided,” Preston said. “Hospitalists care for transfer patients with high-risk pregnancies and provide emergency services for all obstetrics patients, including those with a private physician, until that physician’s arrival.”

Lowy added, “A woman’s obstetrical care will never be delayed. This is the kind of care and treatment we all want for our loved ones.”

Hospitalists also provide an obstetrical safety net for patients with limited access to care, and allow partnership with community health centers, such as SeaMar and Interfaith.

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, a not-for-profit full-service hospital sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, is part of the PeaceHealth system with hospitals in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. PeaceHealth will develop and operate Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor. It is expected to open in August 2012.

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