Pediatrix® Medical Group of Indiana recently expanded its longstanding partnership with Beacon Health System’s Memorial Hospital of South Bend with the addition of obstetric (OB) hospitalist services. The group has provided high-risk maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) coverage at Memorial since 2019 as well as neonatal coverage for the hospital’s Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and newborn nursery coverage for nearly 40 years, offering a continuum of care for moms and babies.
“From a quality and consistency-of-care perspective, this is a natural fit,” said Edward Durbin, M.D., practice medical director. “It enhances communication and coordination among
our physicians and departments for seamless care, which means the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients.”
Dr. Durbin has served Beacon for 26 years. Prior to joining Beacon six years ago as a full-time OB hospitalist and medical director, he was in private practice for 20 years. In his new role as practice medical director for Obstetrix Medical Group of Indiana, he oversees a growing group of physicians, with current opportunities to join, who provide various vital services for the Memorial Childbirth Center. The practice works in collaboration with the MFMs to:
- Provide inpatient care for high-risk patients, conducting the majority of their deliveries (about 80 per month), and manage labor and delivery for unassigned patients, which is a significant number given the hospital’s proximity to Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. The group treats many women who are visiting the area and have a pregnancy-related issue that requires care.
- Provide in-clinic support and inpatient services for HealthLinc Southeast clinic
- Serve as proctors for Memorial’s Family Medicine Residency Program, supervising inpatient and outpatient care for the program’s OB patients
- Supervise the obstetrics fellows who are fourth-year family practice physicians pursuing additional OB experience
- Collaborate with the certified nurse-midwives for their high-risk patients, cesarean sections (c-sections) and any labor and delivery issues
Added maternal safety
“It's very hard for any hospital to have an MFM program if they don’t have someone who is going to do the inpatient deliveries and helping out in the hospital themselves,” said Dr. Durbin. “So, it works great, because with our patients we have a great relationship with both the MFMs and the neonatologists. We talk to them and say ‘this patient has these issues, can we keep them here, or do we need to send them someplace else,’ and we help them with the transports. I can’t say anything more highly of how I think of Dr. Lori Day (MFM medical director) as supporting all our initiatives, and I certainly support her initiatives because I think we both at heart are doing what’s right for the patient. We send babies to the NICU and they get great care because we have great neonatologists and a great facility for that, but we’d love a day if we never had to send anybody there. I think it’s a great team approach.”
The new OB hospitalist service adds another layer of safety that improves patient outcomes and length of stay. “Indiana is a state with increased maternal morbidity and mortality, or it has been in the past,” said Dr. Durbin. “One of our goals is to decrease and improve that, both from a hospital standpoint and also personally.” The group participates in several quality initiatives focused on the leading causes of maternal death that align with the state of Indiana, including venous thromboembolism, postpartum hemorrhage and hypertension.
Additionally, the team works on quality-indicator projects aimed to reduce the primary c-section rate and to help prevent unindicated deliveries before 39 weeks.
Reflecting on the continued growth with Beacon, Andrea Zimmerman, regional manager of operations for the practice, said, “I think a lot of it is proven track record – this is a long-term partnership that Beacon has seen fit to expand on. For all of us, it makes conceptual sense to have that loop from pregnancy to delivery to having a baby in the newborn nursery or NICU. It's that long-term trust factor between the two of us.”
Dr. Durbin adds, “I would say that is probably the basis of it, especially from the neonatology side. They go back to that relationship because through the years, there’s been a gradual change both locally and nationally in terms of what the hospital wants to try to do themselves and what maybe is better for the patient by being done by somebody else with more experience. The national trends have evolved into how the MFM programs have changed –nationally, a high percentage of MFM practices are now either consultative only or majority consultative. The OB hospitalist situation has also changed so much in the last five, maybe 10 years at the most, and it’s that same realization that we have to make a change in our program. Our neonatology and MFM services are working, so let’s try this again. When we looked to take it to the next step, then I think you look at – well, we did this with neonatology and MFM – let’s see what Mednax can do here.”
We’re happy to have you as part of the Mednax® family, Beacon Health System! We look forward to continued success in providing the highest-quality care for moms and babies in the greater South Bend community.
Learn more about our comprehensive scope of maternal care services.