Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has added a new layer of safety for women who give birth at the hospital. Beginning March 30, 2017, an experienced, board-certified obstetric hospitalist will be onsite and immediately available at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Hospitalists are physicians who specialize solely in caring for patients who are hospitalized, rather than those in a clinical office setting. OB hospitalists focus exclusively on providing care for women who are in their second or third pregnancy trimester that need immediate medical attention or in active labor.

Local physician Bruce Monroy, MD, will lead the OB Hospitalist Group™, which includes Danny Lickness, MD, a longtime San Luis Obispo OB/GYN, along with additional physicians new to the area. Their team will evaluate women with emergent obstetric and gynecological medical issues and consult with the patient’s primary OB/GYN until that physician arrives at the hospital. The hospitalists will be located full-time in the Sierra Vista Birth Center and will often see patients initially in the newly remodeled obstetric assessment area located within the Sierra Vista Birth Center.

“This program does not take the patient from her own OB/GYN,” says Judith Lavoie, RN, Director, Women & Children’s Services at Sierra Vista. “Rather, it ensures that every patient, regardless of time of day or physician association, is seen by an OB/GYN right away if she needs urgent care.”

The OB hospitalist will act as the unreferred on-call physician and will see any obstetric or gynecological patients who would normally be seen by the on-call physician. Types of urgent care cases the hospitalist might see include patients 16 weeks pregnant or greater who require emergency care, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages and tubo-ovarian abscesses. Because OB hospitalists are always onsite, they can provide immediate management of acute conditions until the patient’s own OB/GYN arrives. They are also fully capable of performing emergency surgery as needed.

“Having these physicians immediately available on the unit will enhance patient safety and improve the coordination and efficiency of care,” adds Lavoie. “It also provides piece of mind for our patients since a doctor is available, at a moment’s notice, to step in to provide care as they need it.”

Sometimes an obstetrician may be involved in another birth at the hospital or unable to make it to the patient in time for delivery. Having an OB hospitalist program at Sierra Vista means pregnant women, nursing staff and other support persons and caregivers can be confident an experienced obstetrician will be present for both routine and unanticipated events, even when the patient’s own physician isn’t immediately available. OB hospitalists will also be available to deliver babies for patients who may not have an obstetrician.

The Sierra Vista Birth Center provides highly-skilled and nurturing care for both routine and high-risk pregnancies and is the only hospital in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties that can accommodate vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC).  A team of board-certified lactation consultants are available seven days a week to support new mothers in breastfeeding and a deluxe hydrotherapy labor tub offers options for relaxation and pain management. Sierra Vista also houses the only advanced Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in San Luis Obispo County.

For more information about the Sierra Vista Birth Center, visit SierraVistaRegional.com. Classes, tours and support groups are available year round.