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SOMOS FAMILIA – Healthy Babies, Happy Families, Helpful Foundations

Published: Synapse, 2010 - Vol. 2

Each year, hundreds of pregnant women make the journey to the prenatal center at The Chester County Hospital for their care. The opportunity to have one-on-one medical follow-through during their pregnancies makes a big difference in the health of their babies, making the Ob/Gyn Clinic team not just important to their families but in many patient's eyes - part of the family or "somos familia."

"This is the only Hospital-based prenatal care option in Chester County for uninsured women," says Deb Mellon, CRNP, Clinical Manager of the Ob/Gyn Clinic for the past 15 years. The Clinic has been providing obstetric and gynecological care for more than 30 years. "Our team truly cares about the women who come to us. We want to keep the moms healthy and help them give their newborns a strong start, too."

Somos FamiliaTo that end, the Clinic team provides excellent routine prenatal care plus education on breastfeeding, smoking cessation, car seat safety and more. Patients of the prenatal center receive care by board-certified, private, attending obstetricians on staff at the Hospital, a dedicated nursing team most of whom are bilingual, a social worker, and, if the baby should need it, the Hospital's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

If the patient shows signs of having other medical needs beyond prenatal care, the team will refer the patient to one of the Hospital's many specialists.

About 95% of the expectant mothers who come to the Clinic do not have health insurance at the time of their first visit, but the prenatal center team is able to get more than 90% of them onto
Medical Assistance by the time they deliver.

For those who do not qualify for health insurance, the Hospital offers these moms a significantly reduced, flat-rate fee that covers the entire course of their prenatal care and extends through their six-week postpartum visit. The rate hasn't changed in about 30 years, the result of the Hospital's commitment to provide affordable care.

To do this, the Hospital supplements the difference between the cost to the patient and the actual cost of care. As a non-profit and independent institution, this is a significant financial responsibility. Thankfully, several foundations and community members have recognized the need and have provided support to the Hospital's effort to help uninsured families.

Each year, the Hospital receives generous donations from many charitable organizations all of which have been moved by the Clinic's role in the community. The Hospital graciously thanks the Connelly Foundation, United Way of Chester County, The Irene D. Cunningham Trust (Administered by Wells Fargo Bank), The Scholler Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation, PN C Foundation, Siemens Caring Hands Foundation and the Women's Auxiliary for collectively granting nearly $200,000 over the past three years. And beyond the major financial gifts, the Clinic has also received pregnancy books, baby quilts, hand-made layettes, new baby clothes, knitted newborn hats, stuff animals, children's books and highly sought new car seats from various donors.

"Our ultimate goal," says Mellon, "is to make sure the mom is healthy, the baby is healthy and their home is ready." And, the results have been outstanding: 553 babies were delivered by Clinic patients in 2009. Statistics show that the prenatal center's percentage of low-birth weight outcomes exceeds the Healthy People 2010 guidelines.

Beyond the data, though, the proof of the Clinic team's important work comes in the form of gratitude from their patients. Just like being part of the family, members of the Clinic's team through the years have been invited to christenings, first birthdays, third birthdays (a significant celebration in the Latin American community) and Quinceañeras (a cultural coming-of-age ceremony held on a girl's 15th birthday). The Clinic team has become well known and greatly appreciated members of the community they serve.

By Lisa M. Huffman

To learn more about the best way you can support The Chester County Hospital, call 610.431.5108.

Last Updated: 10/11/2011