PDT Staff Writer
The doctors, nurses, staff and management at the Scioto County Community Action Clinic are concerned at what they perceive as an insinuation on behalf of Compass Community Health that pregnant women with substance abuse issues are not receiving medical care. Because of that assertion, Compass says there is a need to convert the current St. Joseph Monastery on Stockham Lane into such a medical facility.
The CAO clinic has for many years, taken care of the women from Stepping Stones, The Counseling Center’s women’s addiction treatment facility.
“In all their documentation, their articles, it indicates it is not being done,” Chris Eaton, Director of the CAO Clinic said. “But it is, and has been, so in some of their talking points it shows that these poor women are out there on the street with no place to go. That isn’t true. We have been taking care of them. If you want to talk about 39 non-addicted drug babies, we did their prenatal care. I’ll give them (Compass and The Counseling Center) credit for keeping them off drugs, but we did their prenatal care”
Eaton commented on a portion of a story about the proposed facility in the Daily Times.
“The comment in your article today that there is no health care facility for pregnant women in the community, we’ve been here for over 30 years. So of course, we’re going to get upset,” Eaton said. “And I don’t have a problem with, if you want to do them. You want to make some more money and give prenatal care and keep them all up at the monastery, fine. But don’t act like it’s not happening. Don’t put out misleading information that acts like we don’t exist. That these poor girls are going to end up with drug-addicted babies and their kids in foster care, that is just not true. And there are a lot of people that we have talked to that live up in that neighborhood that feel guilty because they don’t want it in their neighborhood, when they care about a pregnant woman and a baby. They don’t realize — the care has always been given.”
Eaton said the numbers back her up.
“We take care of them. We have for years,” Eaton said. “Ever since they started. The Clinic has been in existence since the early 70s. At this point and time and for the last 15-20 years, we have provided that service. Our girls represent 25 percent of the deliveries at SOMC (Southern Ohio Medical Center).”
Ed Hughes, President and CEO of Compass Community Health, said there has been a misunderstanding about the scope of the operation proposed at the monastery.
“That was talking about providing an array of services of health care,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t talking about just prenatal. It’s talking about drugs, alcohol, mental health, pediatric care for kids. When we were talking about the facility as a whole, there is no facility like that that provides all of those services in our community.”
CAO Medical Director Dr. Darren Adams said all of the obstetrician/gynecologists in town have always rotated through the clinic. Seeing patients at the facility are Adams, Dr. Carolyn Arnett, Dr. George Pettit and Dr. Jennifer Roberts.
“We have an Ob/Gyn residency program through Ohio University in Athens in which we have at least four to five residents that rotate through here,” Arnett said. “And we, as private physicians, are their preceptors and precept them so that they get quite a bit of pathology that they can see here in this clinic and they take care of these women, which is what they’re going to be doing on the front lines when they get out in these settings.”
Eaton said the entire staff is dedicated to giving at-risk pregnant women the best care.
“We work with all the O-B doctors,” Prenatal Director and Nurse Practitioner Laura Taylor said. “They provide the deliveries. They take care of the ultrasound. I consult them with any problems we have. We also work closely with the paranatal units at Ohio State. So we have top-of-the line, state-of-the-art care. This thing about them not getting adequate care is a bunch of bull.”
Eaton said the minute they register a patient, that patient is immediately placed on WIC (Women, Infants and Children). If the patient qualifies, CAO does the application for their medical card.
“Our girls get to pick what doctor they want to deliver them. We have a sliding fee scale. We don’t turn anyone away. We accept Medicaid. We send the insurance patients to the doctor’s offices,” Eaton said. “SOMC does 1,100 a year, and we have about 300 to 400 girls that deliver, that have received their prenatal care here. We are the prenatal health care center in Scioto County.”
Hughes said the new program will offer a wider focus.
“We have always given credit to the CAO clinic and our other partners,” Hughes said. “We have always tried to include all of them when he talk to the public about our plans. So if this is a response to the article about what we’re trying to create with the St. Joseph’s program, they are looking at that word health care in a too narrow focus. It’s more comprehensive. It provides a health care center for pregnant women, whereby they have access to all of these services that they need. They took that comment wrong in saying that nobody has been providing prenatal care. We tell people all the time about the prenatal services that are provided by CAO for these women. When we’re talking about health care, we’re talking about a number of services.”
Those involved in the day-to-day operation of the CAO clinic are quick to express pride in the care they give.
“I was actually at The Counseling Center. I was the first Ob/Gyn to do Subutex treatment at The Counseling Center,” Adams said. “The prenatal care is actually done here, so we’ve been working together to provide care for these gals. We’ve been successful that first year and January of this year I came over here to make it even better prenatal care, because we could get more done at one place here.”
Eaton said it important to note that if a woman comes in on a Monday, addicted to drugs and pregnant, she is seen that day.
“We start withdrawing them from drugs with Subutex the minute The Counseling Center calls,” Eaton said. “We are lower than the state in low birth weight, pre-term, fetal deaths, infant deaths. All of our statistics are lower than the state. So to act like there’s no prenatal care center in the community, we just have to take exception to that.”
Adams agrees with Taylor that the patients receive state-of-the-art care.
“We have a protocol that has been in existence for years now,” Adams said. “It is evidence based and we use it.”
In addition to their regular schedules, Eaton said the doctors also donate a lot of their time when they are needed.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.