by Kaydee Tuff
Each year, the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida (HCN) cares for hundreds of underserved women, providing mammograms, gynecological care, family planning and obstetrics as well as extra support to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their families. By ensuring a healthy pregnancy and delivery, these services save thousands of taxpayer dollars by avoiding the need for expensive emergency care and hospitalization associated with poor prenatal care.
Last year, HCN provided pre- and post-natal care to nearly 900 underserved women. This year, the numbers are expected to rise dramatically following the addition of the former Women’s Health Foundation to its operations.
Established to avoid a potential maternity care crisis in 1999, the Foundation was a partnership of private OB/GYN providers, the Collier County Health Department, and Naples Community Hospital. The Foundation provided prenatal, delivery and postpartum care to women in financial need.Services were paid through Medicaid, Healthy Start or other funding sources.
More recently, faced with funding cuts and growing operational costs, the Foundation turned to HCN to keep its doors open to women in need. Network CEO Mike Ellis led the discussions.
“Our patients have benefitted from the services provided by the Foundation and we have been impressed with the work of these caring providers and their dedication to their community,” Ellis said. “When discussions arose regarding us taking over operations, we couldn’t have found a more perfect fit with our mission of providing quality healthcare accessible to everyone.”
With the addition of these services, HCN welcomes 12 new staff members including seven new providers: Dr. Thomas Beckett, Dr. Chris Grevengood, Dr. Dean Hildahl, Dr. Max Kamerman, Dr. Wallace McLean, Sarah Clay, ARNP; and Jessica Loerop, PA-C. Former Foundation director Thomas VanPelt has also joined HCN as Director of Administrative Operations.
“We are very happy with this arrangement,” Van Pelt says. “We expect to enhance our patient services with additional staffing and the ability to utilize electronic health records as well as other modern administrative technology that was out of reach prior to joining HCN.”
More information about Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, its 14 office locations and services, can be found at www.healthcareswfl.org.