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San Fernando Valley : Hospital Targets Low-Income Families With Prenatal Unit

County health clinics may be on the verge of shutting down, but one San Fernando Valley hospital is expanding the prenatal care it offers to low-income families.

“We looked at what the community really needed and did something about it,” said Leslie Wither, vice president of marketing at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

In January, the hospital opened the “New Arrivals” prenatal center at its Sherman Way campus in Van Nuys on the former site of Valley Hospital Medical Center. Staff members are fluent in English and Spanish, she said.

A second center will open at the Northridge hospital in September.

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Both hospitals currently offer a “New Arrivals” delivery unit where women can give birth in a homelike setting with room for family members, Wither said. Since January, 189 babies have been born at the Van Nuys unit.

Both centers offer bilingual courses in such subjects as nutrition and infant / child CPR, Wither said.

She said the clinics will accept patients with Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for the poor.

“We welcome Medi-Cal,” she said, noting that staff members will help patients complete the paperwork to receive Medi-Cal if they do not already.

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“It’s much less expensive to care for a woman through her pregnancy than to care for a sick newborn,” Wither said.


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