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Opinion: Changes at PMC to affect women

Porter Medical Center recently announced that Tapestry Midwifery and Addison Associates will join their practices to create a single practice, Porter Women’s Health. The Addison Independent reported on Feb. 8, “In most circumstances, the nurse-midwives and physicians will continue to provide separate call coverage for their pregnant patients.” Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
At a recent appointment with my midwife, I learned that the midwives and physicians will share calls at Porter Birthing Center, 40/60. This means that women, like me, who have been visiting the midwives throughout our pregnancy will likely have a physician attending our birth. Likewise, if a woman has been visiting the physicians, she may instead have a midwife.
Neither of these scenarios is acceptable. Every woman decides for herself what is the best prenatal care and birth setting for her, whether a midwife or physician, at home, a birthing center, or a hospital. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with, unless it is medically indicated that you need care beyond what a midwife is able to offer.
I support every woman’s right to decide what is best for her. Unfortunately, Porter is now diminishing our ability to make those choices in the name of reducing costs and increasing profits. This is a top-down decision at the expense of patient care, provider morale, and our desire to work together to create the best outcomes. By forcing the midwives and physicians to share calls, Porter Medical Center is defeating the purpose of offering two different types of practitioners to its patients. This is a big step backward for prenatal care and birthing in Addison County.
I find myself, at more than halfway through my pregnancy, having to explore other options for my prenatal care. A decision made several years ago after careful research is all for naught because the women whom I have grown to adore and trust may not be able to support me through labor and birth. Two of Porter’s competitors, the University of Vermont and Gifford Medical Center, have both midwives and physicians on call 24/7. What effect will it have upon Porter’s bottom line if patients take our bodies, our choices, and our dollars elsewhere?
Sarah McGowen Audet
Bridport

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