Driving to Dunkirk or Buffalo from Jamestown when a baby is on the way sounds stressful, not only for the mother but the driver as well.
Thanks to WCA Hospital's new OB-GYN program, more women can receive prenatal care and have their babies here in Jamestown.
Recognizing the additional need for access to parental/OB care in the region, in January 2011,WCA Hospital, in collaboration with Delphi Health Care Partners, opened the New York OB-GYN Hospitalists at WCA. It offers a full-range of services for expectant mothers.
From left, Melissa Bock, OB-GYN Center nurse practitioner; Dr. Mandeep Brar, M.D.OB-GYN and New York OB-GYN Hospitalists at WCA medical director; and Dan Tota, Delphi program manager, stand in front of the new OB-GYN Center across from WCA Hospital.
P-J photo by Hilary Scott
"We have really grown," said Dr. Mandeep Brar, M.D.OB-GYN and medical director for the program. "We are seeing a lot of patients, and we are delivering 20 to 25 babies a month. That is really good for this group and the hospital, and for this area."
According to Linda Johnson, WCA public relations officer, the city's few private-practice OB-GYN's were full and weren't accepting new patients, so many women had to travel outside the community to Dunkirk of Buffalo, for example, to receive care.
"(The program) has allowed us to offer greater access to care here in the community and be able to care for these mom's right at home," she said.
It offers women prenatal care from start to finish. Previously, some of the women who gave birth at WCA were not patients of the local physicians and would first meet their delivering physician while in the delivery room.
"It's better care, certainly, when you have someone following your care from beginning to end," added Johnson.
The program is not competitive with Dr. Robert Daniels, Dr. Nancy Allen or Dr. Blesilda So, the three private OB-GYN practices in the city. Instead, it supplements the current provider network.
Dan Tota, Delphi program manager, said that when new patients call the OB-GYN Center, they are first asked if they already tried to get an appointment with one of the local physicians and if they haven't, they are directed to those offices first. If they were unable to gain an appointment because the physicians weren't accepting new patients at the time, then the center provides them care.
There are two prongs to the program: the Labor and Delivery Center and the OB-GYN Center.
Brar said she moved to the area in January 2011 to be part of the program because she really likes how it works.
"We are here 24 hours," said Brar. "When our patients come here, their physicians are here."
Not only do the 24-hour shifts provide constant coverage for patients, they also afford her the opportunity to balance her work and family life. Delphi employs seven OB-GYN physicians, which the practice contracts out to WCA for the program. In addition to Brar, the other physicians are Dr. Kevin Cunningham, Dr. Gil Farkash, Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Dr. Angel Kerney, Dr. Andre Persaud and Dr. Bhagwandas Sutaria.
Tota said that the program also gives the private OB-GYN physicians a break, because when a woman who isn't their patient goes into labor WCA, they don't get called in at 2 a.m. for the birth. One the OB-GYNs in the Labor and Delivery Center will manage her care instead.
The first step in an expecting mother's journey is the OB-GYN Center. Melissa Bock, OB-GYN Center nurse practitioner, sees the program's patients initially at the OB-GYN Center and works with them throughout their pregnancy.
She said that the care is very family-centered and the doctors focus on working with patients on their birthing plans. Utilizing technology, in addition to using the book "What To Expect When You're Expecting," Bock also points her patients to the book's website and mobile app.
Kaitlyn Jude, a recent patient of the program, said she would come back to WCA for care during her next pregnancy.
After she couldn't get into one of the private practices in the city, as it was already full, she turned to the OB-GYN program at WCA. Jude, a Findley Lake resident, gave birth to a little girl, Payton, under the care of Brar on May 14.
"Everyone was really nice there and they were really welcoming," she said. "You didn't feel like just another person when you went there."
She said Bock was really open about questions, friendly and she liked her a lot. They were flexible about making and moving appointments, she said, and they still fit her in when she was late for an appointment one day.
"I liked my experience in the hospital, too," she said. "They took good care of me."
The OB-GYN Center is located directly across from the hospital at 103 Allen St. and is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5.m. According to Bock, the center schedules approximately 125 appointments a week. She said that if a patient calls with a problem, she is usually seen that day. For more information, call that center at 664-8510.