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BVHS Announces OB Hospitalist Program

05.31.2024

Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) has a new obstetric hospitalist program in which one of four physicians is now present at Blanchard Valley Hospital 24 hours a day, seven days per week to care for women delivering babies.

Dr. Brittany Berens, Dr. Dawn Hochstettler, Dr. Kim Perkins, and Dr. Kate Sanford are experienced physicians specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, focusing solely on labor and delivery at Blanchard Valley Hospital.

“While all of our physicians are highly skilled, the field of obstetrics and gynecology includes so many different aspects, from seeing patients in the office to performing gynecological surgeries to delivering babies,” said Brenda Sciranka, specialty and women’s health director for BVHS. “Some physicians have a real passion for surgery, while others gravitate toward deliveries. Healthcare organizations across the nation are increasingly moving to a model like ours, allowing OBGYN physicians to concentrate on what they love doing.”

She added that regularly being on call in case they are needed for a delivery can affect physicians’ families.

“BVHS is committed to being the employer of choice for the very best physicians, and so we recognize the need for flexibility to ensure work-life balance,” Sciranka said.

Some physicians who see pregnant patients for prenatal care will continue delivering babies. However, having the OB hospitalists available offers OBGYN physicians the option of not being on call. Additionally, women who elect to deliver with midwives at BVH can rest assured that the OB hospitalists are on the floor to support and assist, if needed, to ensure additional safety. The OB hospitalist team also works closely with pediatric hospitalists, who care for infants in need of special care.

“These physicians work closely with the rest of our women’s health program, including the OBGYNs who provide prenatal care in the office, and they have access to all of their records to ensure they have a good understanding of each patient,” Sciranka said.

“When a woman comes into the hospital in labor, there is always a doctor in the house to evaluate and triage and to back up midwives as needed,” Dr. Berens said. “We are here to support our colleagues who provide care in other settings, and we are committed to working as part of a team with the rest of BVHS.”

Dr. Berens said it’s a vulnerable experience for the delivering mother. The physicians make sure to make the patient feel comfortable, building a rapport when they walk in.

“I tell them, ‘Hi, I’m Dr. Hochstettler, I’ll be taking care of you,’” Hochstettler said. “Being devoted solely to deliveries, I focus all my attention on the laboring mom. I look her in the eye and say, ‘I am here for you. That’s all I’m doing right now. No matter what happens, I’m here to take care of you.’”

All four of the OB hospitalists are mothers themselves. In fact, Dr. Perkins delivered Dr. Hochstettler’s third baby.

“We know what this experience is like, and we want the mom to feel good about it,” Dr. Hochstettler said. “People are in the delivery room for a happy and exciting reason, and we make it clear we are happy and excited to be there with them.”

Dr. Hochstettler and Dr. Perkins both previously practiced at BVHS and said they are excited to return. Dr. Hochstettler said she had worked at another hospital as an OB hospitalist before returning to Findlay and found this model worked well for her and her colleagues and patients.

Dr. Berens added that, as a small group employed by BVHS, the OB hospitalists will continue fine-tuning policies and procedures as new information comes out to ensure the safest experience.

Dr. Berens found that delivering babies was her favorite part of the work when she was in residency.

“Delivering babies is incredibly exciting, and we can all remember the first time we were a part of a delivery as a medical student,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of this experience with a family.”

Nikki Ballinger, RN, clinical manager-maternity, said women from throughout the region are drawn to deliver in Findlay because of the 24/7 care and availability of doctors. She hears good feedback as she rounds on patients.

“They absolutely love the nursing staff,” she said. “Everyone takes such great care of these moms and their babies.”

Getting to stay in the same room, under the care of the same nurses, rather than being transferred to another unit also means that the mothers can build relationships with associates.

“Having a baby is extremely personal, and it’s a big moment in a family’s life,” Ballinger said. “Our entire team, including physicians, midwives, and nurses, can quickly build relationships and form a sense of camaraderie.”



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