The birth of a new baby is an exciting time for families. Now, mothers in labor at HealthPark Medical Center can have peace of mind that a board-certified OB/GYN Hospitalist is available at the hospital 24/7 to ensure specialized obstetrics care through the delivery process. The new OB/GYN Hospitalists coordinate care with the family obstetrician, extending a safety net for their patients, but does not replace them.
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 at the hospital. HealthPark administrators worked with the OB Hospitalist Group, a national physician group specializing in obstetrical care, to set up the new program.
Donna Giannuzzi, Chief Administrative Officer at HealthPark and Chief Nursing Officer for Lee Memorial Health System, says the program will expand the existing network of support. “We work with the community’s OB/GYNs, family physicians doing obstetrical work and certified nurse midwives to enhance continuity of care for pregnant women and their babies. 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 at the hospital. The new OB Hospitalist program underscores our commitment to quality care and safety in Women’s Services,” Giannuzzi explained. “The OB Hospitalists strengthen the capabilities of the obstetrics program at HealthPark,” she adds. HealthPark is home to the area’s Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center (RPICC), providing care for mothers during high-risk pregnancies, as well as care for low birth weight or critically ill infants while they are in the womb and after birth.
The new OB hospitalist program includes a surgical team, anesthesiologists and neonatologists available around the clock to provide care to high risk obstetrical patients. Chris Jabaay, Director of Obstetrical Services at HealthPark, says that ensures women in labor needn’t wait for pain relief. “A woman’s obstetrical care will never be delayed; this is the kind of care and treatment we will want for our loved ones,” Chris added.
“As an obstetrician, the safety and well-being of patients is my number one concern,” says Dr. Larry Antonucci, Chief Operations Officer for Lee Memorial Health System. “When a mother is in labor, the sooner she is in the care of an OB specialist, the better the outcome for mother and child. Getting to the hospital can be delayed by visits with other patients in the office or delivery room, and especially in high season by traffic. The OB Hospitalists will ensure appropriate care for patients, until the arrival of the community physician. In the event of an emergency, it is reassuring for physicians to know their patients will be seen by a specialist immediately at the hospital.”
Three OB/GYN Hospitalists are now onboard at HealthPark Medical Center: C. Kevin Burlison, M.D. (team lead), Joseph F. Lang, M.D., FACOG and Melvin H. Seid, M.D., FACOG
Hospitalist medicine is a growing trend in healthcare. In fact, the Society of Hospital Medicine estimates there are more than 20,000 hospitalists practicing in the United States, and approximately half of America’s hospitals employ hospitalists. Lee Memorial Health System employs hospitalists in each of its four acute care hospitals: HealthPark Medical Center, Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital.