Pediatrics pulls out

Just a quick note to say that all the pediatricians on staff at St. John's Regional Medical Center have decided not to cover MediCal babies born at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital. As of December 1st they refuse to be on call for any patient who does not have a pediatrician. And since MediCal patients usually use MediCal providing doctors and there are now no pediatricians at Pleasant Valley Hospital who accept MediCal there is an obvious dilemma. My understanding of the explanation I have been given is that it is a combination of fearing that midwife deliveries are risky exacerbated by a recent tragic outcome, lack of an NICU for backup and poor reimbursement for their services. While I understand the latter two reasons, I am uncertain as to why they feel midwifery and its low risks patients are considered higher risk than physician patients. I have spoken to administration and offered to attend any meeting to help answer questions they may have about midwifery and to get some answers to my questions, too. So far no invitation has been offered. I had a low risk MediCal patient scheduled for a routine repeat c/section tomorrow morning at Pleasant Valley Hospital that I was ordered to either move to St.John's in Oxnard or cancel due to a lack of pediatric coverage which is required by their policy. This is inconvenient for and undesired by both the patient and my staff. I have been told they are working on a solution and are aware of the urgency of need for a resolution. For should a MediCal patient show up in labor at Pleasant Valley their would be no pediatric coverage. Hopeful they will come up with something soon.

Each one of these new twists and obstacles makes it crystal clear that another option for birthing in our community is essential.

Am off tomorrow night to Washington DC to meet with Senator Feinstein's office and Congressman Gallegly's staff on Wednesday. The topic will be the Health Care Bill with focus on reminding our representatives that medicine is not an inert commodity. We are patients and health care practitioners. We are individuals. Medicine takes place in the privacy of an exam room and is a very personal decision. Government probably won't listen but they really have no business being in the business of health care. But you already know that's my take. SF