Fort Bragg, CA – In response to the recent closing of the Labor and Delivery service at Mendocino Coast District Hospital, Mendocino Coast Clinics has partnered with MCHC Health Centers to make it easier for coastal patients to deliver babies at the hospital in Ukiah.
Mendocino Coast Clinics Executive Director Lucresha Renteria said, “We have worked with MCHC for years—we know them and we trust them. They hold to the same high standards we do. If our patients choose to deliver in Ukiah, we’ll facilitate the transfer of care at 28 weeks, or about two-thirds of the way through the pregnancy. Then, once the baby is born, patients can return home for care here at MCC, where we can care for both mother and baby.”
In collaboration with their medical team, all pregnant patients receiving prenatal care at Mendocino Coast Clinics create a birthing plan once they reach 20 weeks’ gestation. Then, according to that plan, once the patient reaches 28 weeks, Mendocino Coast Clinics transfers the patient’s medical records to the MCHC provider who will assume care and oversee the baby’s delivery. For patients prefer who prefer to transfer care to any other provider, Mendocino Coast Clinics will send medical records to the patient’s provider of choice.
Patients who transfer to MCHC Health Centers at 28 weeks’ gestation must travel to Willits or Ukiah for most prenatal exams; however, some care can be provided via telephone during the COVID-19 crisis. The MCHC providers deliver the babies at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. For MCC patients who need financial assistance to travel outside Fort Bragg for prenatal care, the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District has provided funding; closing the Labor and Delivery Department was a difficult decision and ensuring that pregnant patients have access to quality care is vital. Mendocino Coast Clinics administers the funding, which is intended to help patients who may struggle with transportation, temporary housing, or other costs for prenatal care or at the time of delivery in Ukiah.
Renteria said, “We began working on this transfer agreement with MCHC months ago to allow patients to maintain their care close to home for as long as possible, and to relieve any stress associated with trying to find a provider who would accept them as a new patient part way through their pregnancy.”
MCHC Health Centers CEO Scott McFarland echoed Renteria’s sentiments. “Our goal is to provide the best possible care to people in Mendocino County,” he said.
MCHC’s women’s health service is called Care for Her. Care for Her Medical Director Dr. Karen Crabtree said, “Our doctors and certified nurse-midwives are enthusiastic about helping coastal patients deliver babies in a way that is right for them. The Care for Her approach is based on listening closely and educating patients, so the birthing experience meets patients’ needs, hopes, and expectations.”
Mendocino Coast Clinics has provided prenatal care to women on the Mendocino Coast for 15 years and will continue to do so as long as they serve the coastal community.