County Cuts Waiting Time for Prenatal Care by Half

Private hospitals have helped reduce the waiting period for pregnant women seeking initial prenatal care from the county to 1.6 weeks from a high of three weeks, an official said Monday. Los Angeles County officials last year joined with the private sector in a plan to divert thousands of pregnant women to private hospitals to ease tremendous overcrowding in the county’s obstetrical system.

Irwin Silberman, county director of family health programs, told the Commission for Children’s Services that the county now refers 2,000 obstetrical cases a month to private hospitals, compared with 1,200 a year ago.

In a presentation to a Board of Supervisors’ advisory panel, Silberman said the increased participation of private hospitals has cut the first visit waiting period for pregnant women to 1.6 weeks. In February, 1989, the waiting period was three weeks.