Sound Health: 2 Central Illinois Medical Groups Increasing Access to Women’s Health Care

Sound Health: 2 Central Illinois Medical Groups Increasing Access to Women’s Health Care

A collaborative effort between Advanced Women’s Healthcare of Bloomington and OSF Healthcare will increase women’s access to specialty healthcare in central Illinois.

Earlier this week, Peoria-based OSF Healthcare announced an expansion of OB/GYN services at an Urbana-based practice, as well as two new clinics opening in Lincoln and Forsyth, a community outside of Decatur and about an hour in south of Bloomington-Normal .

The expanded services are a result of the integration of Advanced Women’s Healthcare-certified nurse midwives into the OSF Healthcare system. Certified Nurse Midwives [CNMs] are registered nurses in advanced practice who specialize in women’s reproductive health care. In addition to labor and prenatal and postpartum care, CNMs can provide general gynecologic care and treatment for pelvic floor disorders.

“By adding a practice of certified nurse midwives and advanced practice providers, we are able to open what we call OB-outreach clinics in markets that would experience, or already experience, a lack of access to these services essential to health care,” said Jennifer Ulrich, interim president of OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Jennifer Ulrich is the interim president of OSF St. Mary's Medical Center.  Joseph in Bloomington

Jennifer Ulrich is the interim president of OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center. Joseph in Bloomington.

Ulrich said up to six CNMs will rotate through the clinics and may deliver babies at OSF St. Louis Medical Center. Joseph in Bloomington. The clinics themselves will be staffed with a medical office assistant, a registered nurse and a CNM.

While OSF and Advanced Women’s Healthcare have worked together for years, Ulrich said the latest collaborative effort is a creative way to address a persistent, nationwide shortage of OB-GYN physicians.

“When we realized there were unmet needs, Advanced Women’s Healthcare came to us… to be part of the solution and stay in the gap and meet these critical healthcare needs of patients in our and extended communities. area,” Ulrich said.

The mother- and baby-focused nonprofit March of Dimes estimated in 2022 that about 35% of counties in the nation are “maternity care deserts,” meaning there are no obstetric care providers in the county. In Illinois, the nonprofit found 35 of the state’s 102 counties are such deserts.

“This happens mostly in rural areas where it’s challenging to get enough patients to keep a clinic or practice busy and keep them fed,” Ulrich said.

Once the clinics are up and running, she said it is possible that other specialists will start practicing in the same clinics.

“In some of these clinics in the future we will have a multispecialty presence, we expect that [a] The clinic, for several days a week, will be used for gynecological and midwifery care, but on other days we may seek to market other specialties that are also not served,” she said.

The clinic in Lincoln is set to open in early April. It will be located at 602 Woodlawn Road.

The clinic in Forsyth is expected to open later this month at 845 U.S. Route 51.

The expanded practice in Urbana is located within medical offices on the OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center campus.

The clinic’s hours of operation are from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

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