The introduction of the new laborist program at Saint John’s Health Center played a crucial part in the decision by Peter Weiss, MD, and the three physician-partners in his busy Beverly Hills obstetrics and gynecology practice to begin admitting their patients primarily to the hospital.
Under the program, which started Jan. 1, experienced obstetrician-gynecologists, also known as laborists, are on duty at the Health Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The in-house laborists are there to help in the event of a medical emergency, to provide care for pregnant women who arrive at the emergency room without their own OB/GYN, or just to serve as backup for any private OB/GYN who requests their assistance with a delivery at the hospital.
“It’s an excellent standard of care to have obstetricians available around the clock like this,” said Dr. Weiss. “Some teaching hospitals have residents who perform this role – under supervision – but they’re not necessarily experienced OB/GYNs. Saint John’s has gone one step further.”
Help for Physicians, a Safety Net for Patients
The laborist program at Saint John’s is designed to be an accommodation for physicians and a safety net for patients, according to William Frumovitz, MD, Chairman of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“For doctors, it means that if their patient comes to the hospital ready to deliver and they’re stuck somewhere in traffic, an experienced obstetrician-gynecologist – not a nurse or a resident – will be there to deliver the baby,” Dr. Frumovitz explained. “For patients, it means there will always be someone available in an emergency with the same capabilities and qualifications as their private OB/GYN. All in all, it’s an incredible program.”
A total of 20 local OB/GYNs are contracted with Saint John’s to provide the service. All are current members of the hospital’s medical staff. “The intent is to provide high-quality, personalized obstetrics services for local OB/GYNs and patients,” said Irena Zuanic, RN, Director of Women’s Health at Saint John’s.