April 24, 2008

Womens Center Marks End of $1.3 Million MFH Grant

Three years and 180 births later, the $1.3 million Missouri Foundation for Health grant that made the construction of the Scotland County Memorial Hospital Womens Center possible came to a close this week.

Members of the SCMH staff joined with advisory committee representatives, board members and community supporters for a special celebration April 18th to mark then end of the three-year process.

While this marks the end of the grant process, I fully expect this facility to continue to offer all of the same expanded coverage and outreach programs to the surrounding communities, said SCMH CEO Marcia Dial.

MFH awarded SCMH $1, 318,255 in February 2005 for the construction of a new OB wing at the hospital.

This was one of those rare projects, said Heather McClurg of MFH. During the review process we list strengths and weaknesses for each proposal, but for this grant application there simply were no weaknesses. Clearly this project is needed for improved OB services in the area.

The project was deemed a necessity with four county hospitals shutting down their OB facilities in the previous two years, leaving SCMH as one of the few remaining options within a 1,500 square mile radius. In 2004 SCMH witnessed a 30-percent increase in census for the OB department.

The grant allowed SCMH to purchase up-to-date equipment and hire more trained OB staff. Along with the collaboration of several area organizations, new services offered through the womens center included family-centered maternity care, free-of-charge prenatal classes, home visits and follow-up care.

One of the main additions through the grant process was a full-time anesthesiologist that offers epiderral pain control for natural births. Only 20% of the births at the new facility have been by C-section surgery.

The funding helped expand pre-natal care and educational outreach programs to foster a greater number of healthy pregnancies. These programs showed immediate dividends, as more than 86% of the babies born at the Womens Center weighed between 6 to 10 pounds. There were just 23 babies born below the six-pound weight, and six of those births were premature births between 32-37 weeks.

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