Courtesy Holly Johns, PCC Community Wellness Center
PCC South Family Health Center, the Berwyn facility of PCC Community Wellness Center, received unanimous approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to establish Illinois' free-standing birth center.
"This is an exciting time for PCC to be approved for the very first free-standing birth center in the State of Illinois," said Robert Urso, PCC's President and CEO. "PCC's Board of Directors fully supports this new endeavor and we are extremely fortunate to have such strong support from our medical providers and staff as well as the local community."
PCC's birth center will allow expectant mothers to labor and deliver in a comfortable, homelike facility free from medical intervention.
"Birth center care is a unique and safe option for families," said Cecelia Bacom, PCC's Director of Advanced Practice Nursing. "These facilities exist within a healthcare system and offer a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth; it is more than a place, it is a philosophy of care."
As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), PCC cares for an underserved and low-income patient population and offers full-scope midwifery care at Vanguard West Suburban Medical Center (WSMC). In 2012, PCC provided care in more than 1,300 deliveries. Currently, PCC has an established patient population seeking natural birth and midwifery options, including water births.
"Historically, low-income women have had the least access to free-standing birth center services, even in states where licensing has been available for years," said Marjorie Altergott, PCC's Director of Public Health Analysis. "We are grateful to the State of Illinois for creating Birth Center guidelines to specifically include FQHCs like PCC and enable us to welcome underserved women and their families into this new service."
As a prerequisite for Birth Center care, pregnant patients must be considered low-risk and otherwise healthy. Instances where mothers and newborns require hospitalization, patients will be transferred to WSMC, a short six-minutes away. WSMC contracts PCC to provide 24-hour Maternal Child Healthcare with at least three PCC physicians always available in-house, including a provider to perform c-sections.
"PCC realizes that, as future birth centers are approved, they will look to us for guidance; with that comes a high-level of responsibility," Urso said. "As PCC's President and CEO, I am proud of the hard work and dedication displayed among PCC staff members as we embark on this amazing journey."
PCC plans to open the birth center within the next 12 months.
PCC Community Wellness Center is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center with the mission of improving health outcomes for the medically underserved community through the provision of quality, affordable, and accessible primary health care and support services. Anchored with family medicine, PCC is committed to serving the needs of all people in all stages of life, while continuing to specialize in the delivery of comprehensive maternal and child health services to address this unmet need in the community.