New York-Presbyterian, Columbia will offer multi-disciplinary care approach to maternal health
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Women facing high-risk pregnancy and deliver will receive comprehensive care at a new outpatient center that is among the first of its kind in the country to offer multidisciplinary care.
Located on the campus of New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the Mothers Center will feature four exam rooms, three consult rooms, and meeting spaces for specialists to collaborate.
Dr. Mary D'Alton, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Irvin Medical Center, said the center aims to avoid multiple appointments at different locations.
"We would provide the cardiologist, the anesthesiologist, mental health provider and the maternal-fetal medicine physician all in the same space," D'Alton said.
She said the kind of comprehensive approach many fetal care centers provide for unborn children inspired her to come up with this model.
The opening of the Mothers Center comes at a controversial time in assessing maternal health in the U.S. Mothers here face higher rates of maternal death than in most other developed countries despite spending more health costs.
D'Alton said staff will include up to five maternal-fetal medicine physicians, four anesthesiologists, three cardiologists, up to two pulmonary specialists, and two neurologists. A number of other subspecialists, including cardiac surgeons, diabetic physicians, endocrinologists would be available.
There are more cardiologists since cardiovascular disease is one of the most common health complications during pregnancy. Care coordinators will be assigned to help schedule appointments and physician care teams will convene weekly to develop treatment plans for the mother and the child.
D'Alton hopes the approach could inspire other maternal health providers and will educate physician residents and fellows on the multidisciplinary approach to care delivery. It will also serve as a good patient base for research study.
"We know that mothers who have high-risk conditions are at risk for future conditions later in life," D'Alton said. "It's our goal to follow these mothers and see how they are not just one year from now but five and 10 years from now."
That could help explain what causes the nation's high maternal death rate.
According to the findings of a 2015 report by the World Health Organization, the U.S. ranked 46th in the world for pregnancy-related death, with 14 out of every 100,000 mothers dying as a result of complications from pregnancy.
The single biggest factor in the country's high rate of maternal death is racial disparity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. there were 43.5 deaths that involved pregnancy complications for every 100,000 black women in 2013, the most recent year that data was available, compared to 12.7 deaths for every 100,000 live births for white women and 14.4 deaths for every 100,000 live births for women of other races.
D'Alton said one of the goals of the Center would be to evaluate health outcomes based on race.
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