Memorial Health System’s (MHS) Board of Directors approved a motion on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, to move forward with an Integrated MHS and SRHC Obstetrics Program that will allow MHS and Salina Regional Health Center (SRHC) to work in partnership for OB patients.
In April of this year, Memorial Hospital began working with an independent healthcare advisory firm to evaluate the future of obstetrics services at MHS.
The OB department is regularly at or below 40 deliveries a year, which is only 2-3 deliveries a month. The low volume makes it difficult to sustain a viable OB program at MHS, given the many requirements that include needing a full and consistent staff, including nine OB nurses and several family medicine physicians who support OB. Staff must also maintain their competencies, and the program must adhere to all guidelines and policies for maternity care standards, including guidelines for low-risk deliveries. In addition, there must be emergency backup care in place, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
To summarize the program, maternity care needs will be met by extending services beyond low-risk pregnancies. Abilene can preserve local access to women who prefer this integrated model which allows pre/post care with their family physician and virtual OB/GYN visits. Coordinated care in this plan means delivery will take place in Salina, and post-partum care will take place in Abilene. MHS nurses can concentrate on other areas of nursing, and SRHC will continue to offer world class obstetrics services. This is especially important to promote the safety and quality measures that are needed to support an obstetrics program. Harold Courtois, CEO at Memorial Health System supports this program moving forward. He stated, “Healthcare is an ever changing landscape with resources and finances. Our desire is to provide a structure of quality and safety for both the mother and the baby.” There is an expected increase for virtual visits, but the opportunity to keep seeing OB patients in Abilene and maintain a relationship with the family physician allows MHS to keep their patients, along with the new baby, after a delivery at SRHC.