All nations healing hospital pioneers midwifery
There are 14 registered and practicing midwives in the province
Article: Jeremy Simes – Contributor
Babies are delivered in Saskatchewan’s packed, bright-lit and clock-watching care units everyday. However, Debbie Vey, midwife at the All Nations’ Healing Hospital (ANHH), allows her soon-to-be moms to bring their own pillows and music on the day of delivery.
The hospital’s budget is $4.9 million; however, visits increased by 56 per cent from 5,914 to 9,203 patients, after Balcarres and Lestock reduced health care services. There were “no additional resources,” said Gail Boehme, director of the ANHH. She said ANHH had to choose between turning patients away, or running a deficit. It chose the latter, which ended being $500,000.
Boehme even used some of her own salary to cover costs. “I was flexible enough to move my salary to another area. I shouldn’t have to do that,” she said. Boehme said she told the ministry, “If you are truly a partner in this initiative and you see other communities collapsing, and you see us picking up this volume then I don’t understand why you fund me for one and one when I’m running at two and two.”
With the money they had, the ANHH created cost-effective birthing suites for midwives. “I’m not paying a doctor. I’m not paying a nurse. I’m not paying any overnight stays,” said Boehme.
Vey said 10 appointments cost $500, whereas an overnight stay costs about $2000. Boehme plans to hire another midwife for the hospital’s new suite, which is ready for water-births. “I can’t wait!” said Vey.
Karen Scherle, program consultant of the Primary Health Services Branch, said that the province funded $500,000 for three midwife positions in 2012. A pilot project is in the works to fund a Second Attendant, who would help midwives for home-births. There are 14 registered and practicing midwives in the province, and three of the 12 health regions have them. Vey said she’s seeing more patients from the Sunrise Health Region, but Scherle suggested the next midwives will be hired by the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.