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IU Health Resumes Obstetric Services at Paoli

January 26, 2018

IU Health Resumes Obstetric Services at Paoli

OB services are back at IU Health Paoli Hospital
"Best Kept Secret, No Longer a Secret"

On January 27, IU Health announced the reversal of a previous decision to close OB services at IU Health Paoli Hospital. That announcement follows a week of meetings and learning together what the lack of local OB care could mean. From the beginning, IU Health's senior leadership struggled with the decision as they weighed the importance of rural OB services against the financial burden of keeping it going. They were very clear in their desire to "get this right".

One factor was some likely success Southern Indiana Community Health Care (SICHC) has had in recruiting a physician to help ease the C-section call and obstetrics for the population we serve. But a more compelling factor that weighed heavily into the decision was the collaborative priority of Governor Holcomb, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box and IU Health to focus on lowering the state's infant death rate. Indiana's is higher than other northern states and that’s a puzzle many are looking to solve. Prioritizing safe, easy to access prenatal care and delivery sites for Indiana’s babies is a small critical piece of that puzzle. As a FQHC Look-alike community health center, SICHC offers that comprehensive pregnancy, birth, infant and family care that can make all the difference.

If nothing else, these last 2 weeks have made us acutely aware of the value of our community’s health resources. We are exceeding grateful that IU Health system decided to lead the way by choosing to advocate for equitable health care over cost considerations.

Now it’s up to us find ways to work with them for improved outcomes across the spectrum. And let’s work together to impact public policy so that other small communities without the strength of IU Health have a chance to be heard too. The next step for all of us is to speak up loudly for national funding to cover the cost of maternity care and other health services in disadvantaged communities. Healthy babies come from healthy pregnancies. It’s that simple. Contact your Senators and House of Reps today to add your voice for equitable care. Go to our website for links.

And now it’s time to thank the OB crew who work hard to make rural OB care what it should be.

We’ve heard that "best kept secret" comment from many a happy mother when describing their experience delivering at Paoli's childbirth facility. They also say, "if I had known it was like this, I would have had all of my babies here". They go on to describe:

- the attentive care from the nurses with one-on-one focused staffing; like they’re part of our family.

- the facility's laboring hot tub, birthing ball and family friendly environment

- flexibility of the OB staff that support and encourage birth plans unique to each couple

- the consistent care offered by the midwife or doctor who they get to know during their prenatal care who

then attends their delivery, rather than having an “on call doctor” do the delivery

- the low C-section rate in part due to patient, supportive staff who support natural labor and your body's own


- Exceptionally qualified anesthetists who perform high quality epidurals for pain control

- Highly trained C-section doctors who stay in Orange County round-the-clock because they believe in the value of

critical access to vulnerable populations. A shout out to Dr. Stauffer, our best advocate ever!

- Encouraging nurses and lactation consultants who help get breast feeding off to a good start

-the value of having the delivering doctor also manage the baby's care both in the hospital and in the office for years to

come. There is comfort in having a doctor who knows the family.

See patient letters pasted on

The factors above all help contribute to quality numbers recognized in the IU Health 17 Hospital System.

1. Avoiding elective induction of labor before 39 weeks - shown to positively impact infant outcomes.

Recognized by the March of Dimes. Tied for best overall within IU Health

2. Primary C section rate

Second best overall with a 13 % average over the last 3 years. (IU's goal is to be lower than 29%)

3. Breast feeding rate –

Third highest within IU Health

4. Absence of hospital associated infant infections and mother’s urinary tract infections related to catheters-

Best overall within IU Health

What makes these numbers even more compelling are mother's health risk factors that can lead to complications.

--30% are smokers (National average is 17%)

--15% are teenagers (National average is 8%)

--26% start their prenatal care after the first trimester (NA 16%)

Early care can identify problems to help avoid complications.

-- Amish women with large families are at risk of heavy bleeding at delivery. 91% of them start their

prenatal care after first trimester, with 70 % in the last 2 months

SO.....many thanks to the IU Health Paoli OB team who provides attentive care in a competent manner that is reflected in quality numbers, despite risk factors. The final outcome says it all.......healthy mothers and babies.

And thank you to IU Health System for taking the progressive lead for health equities in Indiana.

Yolanda Yoder MD

Southern Indiana Community Health Care

Paoli, IN 47454

812-723-3944 for a more detailed report  

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