New hospital, new services?
December 6, 2005
FRISCO – A change in ownership of a medical building will bring changes in services local doctors can provide.Currently, St. Anthony’s owns the office building in which obstetricians at Summit OB/GYN practice. As a result, the physicians are not allowed to give out birth control or perform permanent sterilization techniques or abortions in their offices because the Catholic Help Initiative funds the hospital management organization, Centura, and forbids such interventions.Centura staff informs its doctors about what they can and cannot do according to the Catholic Church’s ethics and religious directives. They usually don’t check up on physicians, unless they hear of a case where doctors have breached the contract.”We enter into an agreement, and we trust the physicians integrity they they’ll operate within our facility to keep their promise,” said Sister Nancy Hoffman, senior vice president for mission and ministry.When obstetricians move into their new building sometime between June and September, they will be free of any Catholic directives.Dr. Alan Dulit said they will offer a full range of medical services for women, including birth control methods, with at least one method of permanent sterilization, and infertility evaluation and treatment. They haven’t decided whether or not they will offer abortions. “We don’t (do abortions) now, and we don’t have plans to do them at any time in the future,” said Dennis Flint, CEO of High Country Health Care.One of the permanent sterilization methods doctors plan on performing is called Essure. Essure is less invasive, has a lower failure rate and offers faster recovery than the traditional tubal ligation (tube tying) for women. Unlike tubal ligation, which involves at least one, and often two, incisions and general anesthesia, Essure uses neither. Because doctors don’t use general anesthesia, but rather intravenous sedation and a local anesthetic (not unlike what dentists use), recovery time is quicker.Rather than cutting incisions for a camera and instruments in the belly, doctors dilate the cervix (unless it’s already still dilated six to eight after a woman has a baby) and guide a camera through it.Then they place a coil of titanium into the fallopian tube from the inside. The placement causes scar tissue to form and closes down the tube from inside. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes as compared to a tubal ligation that, when done quickly, takes 20-30 minutes.It is 99.93 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and has a 0.02 percent risk of complications, said Dr. Julie Gelman.”This is a no-brainer for permanent sterilization,” Gelman said.Offering medical procedures that go against Catholic beliefs was one of the points doctors, and even county commissioners, negotiated with Centura.”It became a real tender point … but I can’t see building a multi-million facility and leaving out a procedure like (abortion),” said County Commissioner Tom Long.Summit OB/GYN also will increase its services when it has more procedure rooms, which will come with the new office building. It may offer ThermaChoice ablation, a procedure to treat heavy bleeding and irregular menses; as well as urodynamics, or studies of incontinence; and hysteroscopy, used to diagnosis such things as fibroids. Recently, Summit OB/GYN hired a registered nurse, which allows doctors to do some of these procedures now that they have another professional to monitor patients.”With the RN, we’re able to do some more procedures in the office (now), and with the new office, we’ll have more procedure rooms and will increase the number of procedures available,” Gelman said.Another benefit of moving to the new office buildings involves having three specialties – family doctors, a pediatrician and obstetricians, under one roof. It will allow doctors to send patients down the hall to see another doctor.”It’s going to be that much more efficient for patient care,” Gelman said.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.