Mercy Medical Center, in Canton, OH, boasts a strong obstetrics program, performing about 1,400 deliveries per year. In 2019, hospital leadership partnered with Ob Hospitalist Group (OBHG) to elevate the standard and consistency of their women’s healthcare service line and implement an obstetric emergency department (OBED), which opened in January 2020.
As OBHG’s first partner in Ohio, Mercy Medical Center sees the partnership as a competitive advantage. Pregnant women and women planning to get pregnant can enjoy the peace of mind of an experienced OB/GYN on site at Mercy Medical Center 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
We recently had the opportunity to speak to Mercy Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gormsen; Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Barbara Yingling; and Director of Maternity Services Cassie Greene. About nine months since the program’s inception, here is what they had to say about the partnership.
What prompted Mercy Medical Center to begin discussions with OBHG about a potential OB hospitalist partnership?
Barbara Yingling: We were looking for a service that provided a sense of urgency. We really wanted to elevate our women’s service program, and OBHG came highly recommended. One way to start was to enlist their assistance; they then introduced us to the OBED process. It’s been very successful so far.
How do you feel Mercy Medical Center can better serve pregnant women with OBHG’s partnership?
Cassie Green: It has been wonderful to have patients seen by a provider shortly after their arrival to the hospital versus hours later. We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from the patients who have visited the OBED knowing that they’re getting care from a board-certified provider.
Barbara Yingling: I like the standardization that OBHG brings to the care of our women. There is a lot more consistency than what we had with our past model. Patients are seen right away, and OBHG has been implementing protocols and standardization. I think that’s a big piece of it and we’re still seeing the program evolve. Our site leader Dr. Perkins is excellent as well.
How do your community OB/GYNs partner with the OBHG hospitalist team?
Barbara Yingling: Initially, my biggest concern was how OBHG would be accepted. The community physicians overall have been very receptive to the OBHG team. OBHG is here to partner with the community physicians to deliver the best care to mothers and babies. I think the trust factor is there with the OBHG group. The transition has gone very well.
Dr. Gormsen: We brought the OBHG hospitalist in, had a meet and greet dinner and really made it a point to communicate exactly what the program was about six months in advance. So, they were very well prepared ahead of time.
Cassie Greene: A lot of the community physicians have embraced the OBHG providers. When OBHG onboarded, the staff and OBHG was very open minded. It’s been a wonderful transition.
What is the biggest benefit of partnering with OBHG?
Dr. Gormsen: We have expertise available 24/7; the OB hospitalists are willing to step in and see patients, support the community physicians and nursing staff, not just for emergencies but whenever we need it. The OBED part has also been a big success with patients.
How is OBHG supporting Mercy Medical Center through the COVID-19 pandemic?
Cassie Greene: Dr. Perkins, our OBHG site director, has been instrumental in coordinating protocols and care for these patients OBHG is oftentimes the frontline that sees those patients first, and Dr. Perkins was key in developing those protocols to keep OBHG, the staff and patients safe and to minimize our exposures.
The OBHG team continues to stay on top of the ever-changing studies and recommendations, and they get more results from pregnant women. Any time the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses or The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a change for care, Dr. Perkins sends me the articles to make sure I have them available, and we adjust our protocols based on those.
The OBHG hospitalists often take care of our COVID-19-positive patients from the local clinic and help decrease exposure risk to others. So, they are very instrumental in taking care of our COVID-positive patients. It has been very trying, but I think we have done very well.