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integrated doulas

Providence pregnancy care program receives national recognition for innovation

Sherry Wilson and Tyrone Grandberry, who are expecting a girl, meet with fellow couples at Providence Maternal Care Clinic on East Burnside Street in Portland, February 10, 2015, for a weekly group. The couples receive support and information from staff including staff doula Kate Fricke, who address their concerns and check in on their overall well being. Beth Nakamura/Staff

Sherry Wilson and Tyrone Grandberry, who are expecting a girl, meet with fellow couples at Providence Maternal Care Clinic on East Burnside Street in Portland, February 10, 2015, for a weekly group. The couples receive support and information from staff including staff doula Kate Fricke, who address their concerns and check in on their overall well being. Beth Nakamura/Staff

A Portland pregnancy care program in which patients experience team care led by midwives and doulas will be in the national spotlight next week at the 2015 Catholic Health Assembly in Washington, D.C.

Providence Health & Services' Pregnancy Care Package, first introduced in 2013 at the 22-year-old Maternal Care Clinic in Northeast Portland, is one of four finalists in an "innovation challenge" co-sponsored by the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Global Lab at the UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health.

The Pregnancy Care Package will be cited in a speech by Dr. Molly Joel Coye, former chief innovation officer at UCLA Health System. Also, Kathy Criswell, executive for Women and Children's Services at Providence, will talk about the program during a Monday panel.

The program coordinates care by midwives, doulas, physicians, nurses, patient navigators and social workers. The most basic office visits are replaced by group sessions during which women still get quick medical checks but spend most of the time discussing their experiences, expectations and concerns. Spouses and partners are encouraged to attend and participate.

"The primary reason our project was selected was because of the very high patient experience scores," Criswell said Thursday. Patient satisfaction with prenatal care through the Pregnancy Care Package is at 98 percent and satisfaction with the hospital experience is over 90 percent, she said.

Criswell said the program benefited from careful market research. Providence employees worked with focus groups and interviewed women, asking what mattered to them.

"I think we don't do enough of that," she said, referring to health care providers in general. "We are a little self-absorbed in health care about what we think people want or need."

Providence is selective about Pregnancy Care Package staff, making sure everyone understands that they are part of a health community "that's focused on outcomes," Criswell said.

And the program is "very intentional about being consistent with the mission and core values of a faith-based health-care system," Criswell said.

"We reveal God's love through our compassionate service. That should roll off the tongue of anybody who works for us," she said. "Every action should reflect that."

Criswell said the recognition is a credit to the employees at the Maternal Care Clinic. Eight midwives and five doulas are the heart of the staff, which also includes a physician, two patient navigators, a social worker, two registered nurses, three medical assistants and several support staff.

"It's been such a team effort and such a labor of love by the people who work in that clinic," Criswell said. "They are all so invested in what the childbirth experience is like for our families. It's so great that they get this recognition."

"It's a wonderful honor on some groundbreaking work," said Laura Klink, a spokeswoman for Providence.

Two other local programs will also have representatives at the conference. Providence'sCompassion Strategic Initiatives will lead a session on sustaining compassion in health care. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center of Vancouver will lead a session on crisis communications.

Keynote speakers at the 2015 Catholic Health Assembly include President Barack Obama; Dr. Siddartha Mukherjee, whose book "The Emperor of All Maladies" won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired the recent PBS documentary "Cancer"; and Archbishop Blase J. Cupichof the Archdiocese of Chicago.

-- Amy Wang

awang@oregonian.com
503-294-5914
@ORAmyW