Georgia’s infant mortality rate is the seventh highest in the nation and the in the state’s southern region, health care outcomes are particularly troublesome. But, one women’s clinic in Thomasville is hoping to help change that with the help of a midwife.
In a rural part of the state and with 70 percent of its patients on Medicaid, the Shaw Center for Women’s Health had little money to pay the salary of a full-time midwife. That is until state legislators worked out a deal with Georgia’s Medicaid provider, Peach State Health Plan, who presented the clinic’s staff with a $50,000 grant Wednesday.
Joseph Novak is an OB-GYN with Shaw. He says not having a midwife dedicated to assessing at-risk patients forces already stressed nurses to take on extra responsibilities.
“We have an intake process where we have an OB nurse that interviews these patients and can detect when these high-risk conditions are present and then once we know that, we can steer them into the correct avenue of care. So, it really supports that intake process, having a nurse in that position that can provide this service,” Novak says.
Pregnant women in South Georgia are more likely to be affected by conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and hypertension and usually have limited access to health care– all factors that lead to higher-risk pregnancies. By having a nurse dedicated to the intake and assessment of such at-risk patients, the clinic hopes to save time and provide more personalized care.