The imminent closure of county health clinics will leave many families with reduced access to health care coverage, experts warn, but one San Fernando Valley hospital will expand the prenatal care it offers for 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 both English and Spanish, she said.
A second center will open at the Northridge hospital in September.
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.
According to Wither, both centers offer bilingual courses in such subjects as nutrition, breast feeding, relaxation and infant-child CPR.
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.
“It’s much less expensive to care for a woman through her pregnancy than to care for a sick newborn,” Wither said.