By Mountain Family Health Centers
Mountain Family Health Centers has provided prenatal care in Eagle County since 1993, when it was the Eagle Care Clinic supported by Vail Health. Longtime members of the prenatal team Dr. Kent Petrie, MD, and former Nurse Midwife Carol Conger oversaw the 2014 transition from the Eagle Care Clinic to Mountain Family’s health center in Edwards. (Carol Conger retired at the end of 2018 after many years of providing excellent, high quality care for her patients.)
“Without our clinic, prenatal care would be unaffordable for our patients,” says Dr. Petrie. “Before the establishment of our clinic, many patients would present to the hospital for delivery with no prenatal care.” Receiving prenatal care is significant factor to ensure safe and healthy births for new moms and infants.
Our March Data Doctor column erroneously stated that Mountain Family Health Centers does not provide prenatal care. We do provide high quality, family-centered prenatal care at our Edwards health center. For those who missed our Data Doctor column about reaching women at risk for depression, click here to read the updated version.
Mountain Family provides prenatal care for approximately one third of the births at Vail Health. In 2018 that added up to 120 of the 423 patients receiving prenatal care through MFHC (28%) who delivered at the local hospital. Mountain Family also treats expecting mothers from in the western part of Eagle County who deliver at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
In addition to the regular series of prenatal appointments, Mountain Family offers an affordable sliding scale fee schedule and low-cost labs. “One prenatal ultrasound is included in the patient fees and subsequent ultrasounds are performed at $100 – $200,” explains Dr. Petrie. “These ultrasounds would cost $500 – $1000 elsewhere.”
Mountain Family also offers integrated care for expecting mothers, including behavioral (mental) health services and dental care, helping new parents be in good health and less stressed when a baby arrives. Team-based care at Mountain Family means prenatal patients receive care from a provider, nurse, and medical assistant who know patients well, and expecting parents are seen regularly by our behavior health professionals, nutrition counselors and complex care nurses.
“Each month the entire team meets to discuss our high-risk patients,” says Dr. Petrie, “and works together to provide them the best care.” That includes a partnership with obstetricians from Colorado Mountain Medical, who see patients in our office for consultation and provide delivery services to Mountain Family patients in the hospital under contract with Mountain Family and Vail Health.
The prenatal services provided by Mountain Family are truly essential for residents in the area. Other providers of maternity care in Eagle County limit their Medicaid prenatal patients and do not accept uninsured prenatal patients. “For a variety of medical and socioeconomic reasons, our clinic cares for the majority of the high-risk patients delivered in Vail,” says Dr. Petrie. “Without Mountain Family these patients would have not have access to care.”
Mountain Family Health Centers also partners with Nurse-Family Partnership of Eagle County to reach families. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides care and support network for vulnerable first-time moms that complements services offered by Mountain Family Health Centers, including home visits, medical care, and education and other services through a child’s first two years.
The Edwards office also offers Title X services. “[The partnership] is the perfect complement to the prenatal program offered by Mountain Family,” says Jenny Lang, FNP, “to assure that women are provided contraceptive counseling… to prevent an unintended pregnancy.” Lang is Site Medical Director for the Edwards and Glenwood Springs health centers and Director of Title X Programs.
“With appropriate pregnancy spacing you’re more assured that the mom has recovery from the previous pregnancy aid is healthy for future pregnancies… an intended pregnancy is the best pregnancy.”
Mountain Family’s services and partnerships mean residents can receive affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care for a patient’s entire life.
“We’re here for the whole family,” says Lang. “You start your family with us, we help you grow your family, and then care for you as you age… That’s the beautiful thing about family practice: we grow with you.”
To learn more about prenatal care provided by Mountain Family Health Centers at our Edwards location call 970-945-2840 or go to www.mountainfamily.org. Mountain Family is able to take new pregnant patients on short notice, in order to provide the best care possible. Appointments can be made by calling 970-945-2840.