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The Catalyst

MUSC delivers: enhanced facilities, services offer new experience

By Mikie Hayes
Public Relations

Valentine 2013 baby, Arabel, was born to mom, Jamie Warren, and dad, Chadwick Warren, at MUSC. Jamie was one of the first moms in the hospital to practice skin-to-skin care with her newborn to promote warmth and bonding.  Photo provided

Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! To parents hoping to welcome a little one into the world, these are words they long to hear.
The birth of a child is one of life’s most special moments. For nine months, an expectant mom pores over books describing what she can expect of her baby. She makes sure the nursery is properly stocked and perfectly decorated. She researches the best in diapers, breast pumps and car seats; interviews pediatric practices to ensure the right fit; and visits hospitals to choose the one that offers the best experience for her and her new bundle of joy.

Where a mother-to-be chooses to give birth is perhaps the most important decision she will make for herself and her baby. But how does she choose? Is it a warm and welcoming atmosphere geared toward a nurturing experience for mom and baby or is it the state–of–the–art facility with high-tech equipment and highly specialized doctors?

Jill Mauldin, M.D., thinks it’s both. “At MUSC, we are here to make one of the most special moments in life a memorable and wonderful experience with the added assurance of an expert team always ready, should that become necessary.”

As medical director of the Women’s Care service line, Mauldin is excited about the enhancements that have been made to the facilities and services as well as the additional plans for continued growth and improvements.

She and her colleagues are committed to offering the most tranquil, positive and safe birthing experience for all expectant mothers at MUSC. To that end, the Labor and Delivery and Mother-Baby units have recently been enhanced to provide a welcoming and inviting atmosphere that will better support the needs of an expectant mom through her labor, delivery and recovery. A spacious private suite, with private bath and shower; comfortable reclining couch for a family member to rest or spend the night; the ability to stay connected to loved ones and the outside world through TV, phone, and Internet; a free 24–hour parking pass at the closest garage for dads; and extended visiting hours for family all make life a little easier.

“Our new birthing areas were designed to feel warm and comfortable. An expectant mother knows she’s in a place where she’s cared for and safe, where her family can bond, and where attentive, highly–experienced medical staff can see to her comfort and assist with a joyful birthing experience,” Mauldin said. 

Newly–renovated suites on the mother–baby unit.

In the roomy suite, the medical team is able to do as much as possible right at the bedside and after the delivery, the goal is for mom and baby to have every opportunity to bond as quickly as possible. As a baby–friendly designated hospital, newborns are placed on their mother’s chest within a few minutes of birth, given the opportunity to breastfeed within an hour of delivery and can room in with mom instead of spending time in the nursery, away from loving family — all tenets of the baby–friendly initiative developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Pregnancy is a wondrous time filled with dreams and plans and no parent wants to think about the possibility of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. But what happens when an expectant mom or her baby needs a more specialized level of care?

“We are always prepared for the unexpected,” Mauldin said. And she can’t stress enough the importance of having all necessary elements available under one roof to meet the needs of the mother and baby. “We hope all deliveries go smoothly, but if the unexpected were to occur, there are neonatologists, pediatric anesthesiologists, cardiologists, surgeons, neurosurgeons, and a resuscitation team available 24–hours a day, just in case.”

The ability to immediately respond with specialized care is what separates MUSC from other local hospitals. Whether moms–to–be anticipate a normal or high-risk delivery, this added level of security is a relief to many expectant parents. To deliver at MUSC means they can look forward to a warm and patient-focused experience with the added peace of mind that only an academic health center can offer.

“MUSC offers the most advanced prenatal, labor and delivery, and neonatal care in the country,” said Mauldin. “We’re proud that 11 members of our faculty were named to the 2013 ‘Best Doctors’ list by Best Doctors, Inc., and believe it says quite a bit about our expertise,” she continued. “The hospital staff helps us provide high-touch and low-risk care in an environment that can rapidly become high-tech as needed — and isn’t that the situation any new parent would like to be in?”

From top-ranked doctors, to state–of–the–art facilities and warm and respectful care, there are many good reasons to have a baby at MUSC. And, for employees with the new MUSC Health Plan, there are also added financial benefits for delivering at MUSC.

At a time when charges for delivering a baby have nearly tripled since 1996, MUSC is offering reduced out-of-pocket costs for members of the MUSC Health Plan who deliver at MUSC, making it both more affordable and convenient.

Costs will be different for different contingencies. Higher–risk pregnancies, longer stays, multiple births, C-sections and various health concerns can add to the cost.

As the MUSC Health Plan has taken effect, appointments made by employees have greatly increased already, according to Mauldin, and employees have been pleased at how quickly they were able to see their doctors. To accommodate the upsurge in patients, the department has recruited several outstanding new faculty members. Angela Choi, M.D., a recent graduate of MUSC’s residency program, joined the department as a faculty member in July and now sees patients at the East Cooper office. She is joined by Angela Savatiel, M.D., and nurse practitioner Jessica Day. Ashlyn Savage, M.D., sees patients at both the campus office as well as the East Cooper Women’s Center.

Gretchen Reinhart, M.D., Robbie Conatser, M.D., and nurse practitioner Faye LeBeouf provide care at the MUSC North office. They look forward to the addition and expertise of Richard Day, M.D. this March.

The department has also expanded services, increased the number of appointment times and arranged earlier operating room start times to offer better continuity of care.

All three offices are accepting new patients. On the MUSC campus, patients can be seen at Women’s Health at the Cannon Street office. Mauldin also points out the convenience the satellite offices offer in terms of providing ease of use, rapid access and plentiful parking. In addition to the downtown location, women can also be seen in the north area at MUSC Women's Care North and in Mount Pleasant at the MUSC East Cooper Women's Center. A patient is welcome to visit these offices during her entire pregnancy and deliver downtown at the main hospital, Mauldin said.

Special, personal touches are important during the childbirth experience. Expectant moms are encouraged to bring peaceful music or relaxing CDs to their suite if they so desire. Quiet time for rest and bonding is encouraged and families are able to set their own visiting hours — including no visitors or additions to the health care team.

“When my wife, Robin, delivered Georgia Claire this past November, it was truly a remarkable experience. We knew we were in expert hands, but never anticipated just how ideal a situation it would be. MUSC staff went above and beyond taking exceptional care of one of their own. We felt like we were with family. Initially, I was concerned that, as an employee, we might not get any rest, but when we needed privacy, we simply asked for such and colleagues were incredibly sensitive to our needs,” said Mark Lyles, M.D., MUSC chief strategic officer.

Special requests are understood and always welcomed. “MUSC is here to provide personal, family-centered maternity care for moms–to–be and their families. We want to help our moms meet their childbirth goals. Our dedicated staff cares for mother and baby with genuine warmth, respect, and dignity. Throughout the entire birthing experience, safety, comfort, and privacy are our chief concerns,” said Vicki Marsi, Women’s Care service line administrator. 

The peace of mind that privacy affords is important to all patients, especially as it pertains to private employee health information being protected.
“Employee records, like all patient records, are highly confidential and not accessible to anyone who doesn’t have a direct and immediate association with a specific patient’s care. MUSC has been extremely effective at making sure access to data is restricted to only those for whom access is necessary and viewing patient information beyond what employees need to perform their jobs is prohibited. Safeguards are in place to ensure employee records are closely monitored and secure,” Lyles said. 

Family–centered care is focused on what matters most: the well–being of the mother and baby and helping the family bond. To prepare for the blessed day, MUSC also offers classes that include childbirth education, breastfeeding foundations, and newborn care.

A well–respected and trusted leader in delivering babies, more than 2,300 babies were born at MUSC in 2013. To make an appointment, call 792-5300.

February 7, 2014

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