Delivering better care for high-risk pregnancies in Central Texas

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Having a high-risk pregnancy can be scary for expecting mothers.

That’s why Seton, Community Care and the Dell Medical School are working to redesign and redeploy resources within Travis County, for women that need obstetric and gynecologic services.

One of the biggest changes: consolidating women’s health services from the University Medical Center Brackenridge to Seton Medical Center Austin.

Seton Medical Center Austin has been the flagship for women’s health services, and they hope the move will enhance the level of care. The goal is to provide patients more access to specialists and services.

“This is a way of ensuring we can deliver and optimize the best outcomes and the best experience for our moms, their babies and their families,” said Kate Henderson, President of Seton Medical Center, Seton Northwest and Seton Southwest. “The consolidation continues to build on the excellence that our care team already has here.”

The change would benefit high-risk moms like Hope.

“My first pregnancy was super easy, easy delivery,” said Hope. “We went through this pregnancy, a little rougher.”

The day before Hope’s due date, doctors found complications, and did an emergency C-Section. Hope’s plan was to deliver at Seton Southwest, but they quickly moved her to Seton Medical Center Austin, better equipped to handle patients with complex needs.

“So we transferred over here to have her, to doctors we’ve never met, a place we’ve never been,” said Hope. “But they were really great.”

The hospital will be reallocating space, creating six more labor delivery rooms and an additional C-Section room.

Henderson says right now the hospital delivers about 350 babies a month. After the consolidation, they anticipate upwards of 450. They’ll still continue to serve mothers with normal pregnancies.

“It’s really about putting all the experts together so that you can provide that full continuum of care,” said Henderson.

She says while UMC Brackenridge will not be offering maternity services, any mother in trauma can still be taken there in an emergency. In that situation, Seton would send the expert care team to her.

Another change in the works is more community clinics equipped to care for high-risk mothers throughout pregnancy.

Instead of one centrally located clinic, there will be a total of three, called Centers for Excellence.

“So a patient will be able to be closer to her home to receive that intermediate care,” said Dr. Amy Young, chairman of women’s health for the Dell Medical School. “It’s only really the highest-risk patients that really need access to techniques and machinery and equipment.”

Dr. Young led the effort to design the plan.

They hope additional clinics will lead to shorter wait times and a better experience from day one to delivery.

Young says the clinics are patient-centered rather than physician-centered. The three clinics were strategically placed throughout different corners of the county, two of them are already open.

She says the changes will also benefit future students of the Dell Medical Center.

“There will be long-reaching effects on this community, by having learners that will likely stay in and around our area in Central Texas,” said Dr. Young.

Allowing students to get real-world experience and get involved in the community.

According to Henderson, consolidation to Seton Medical Center Austin will happen in the Spring.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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