LAFAYETTE — Although budget cuts forced University Medical Center to shutter its obstetrics services and nursery, training for doctors in family medicine has been expanded and strengthened through a partnership with Women’s & Children’s Hospital, hospital officials said Thursday.
The exposure of doctors in residence at University Medical Center to a higher volume of births and the opportunity to work with pediatric and gynecology patients in the private hospital’s emergency room has provided residents a broader experience during their four-week rotations at Women’s & Children’s, said Dr. Wayne Cestia, incoming director of the UMC family medicine residency program.
The partnership enabled UMC to continue required obstetric training for its family medicine residency program after $4.2 million in budget cuts at the public hospital led to closure of its obstetrics clinic, labor and delivery areas, baby nursery and other services in March.
As part of the public-private partnership, UMC obstetric patients receive labor and delivery care from their assigned UMC resident at Women’s & Children’s, and the residents are mentored by the private hospital’s staff obstetricians and gynecologists.
Cestia and Dr. Tom Carey, an obstetric program director at Women’s & Children’s, provided an update on the residency program partnership on Thursday at a news media event at the private hospital.
About 10 residents have had rotations at Women’s & Children’s since the affiliation began in February, Carey said. During a rotation, the UMC residents may be assigned an “unassigned patient,” and also take emergency-room cases, Carey said.
Some private practice doctors have also invited residents to assist on cases, in addition to cases handled by hospital staff physicians, further broadening residents’ experience at the private hospital, he said.
The partnership exposes residents to gynecology and obstetric cases that many residency programs may not offer, said Dr. Blanca Bisuna, a second-year family medicine resident.
“In other programs, in your OB rotation, you’d see patients 20 weeks pregnant or above,” Bisuna said. “Here, we get the experience of patients less than 20 weeks pregnant with issues, and patients with gynecological issues.”
Women’s & Children’s is committed to continuing the affiliation, which benefits the community, said Kathy Bobbs, Women’s & Children’s chief executive officer following the media event.
A majority of residents trained at UMC stay in the area, Bobbs said.
The program trains 24 residents with a new class of eight starting each summer, and more than 85 percent of the doctors trained here practice in south Louisiana, Cestia said. He credited the private hospital for its commitment to graduate medical education.
Carey said the residents training in the program are from New Iberia, St. Martinville, Lafayette “and they’re coming here to train because they’re going to stay here.”
The partnership is piquing the interest of medical students researching residency programs, Cestia said.
“Because of the affiliation we created here, we’re having higher interest from both in and out of LSU (Medical School),” Cestia said. “We’re confident in our incoming class.”
Thursday’s media event also featured information on the hospital’s Sleep Center and its pediatric cancer program, which has treated 47 patients with a 95 percent cure rate in the past four years.
The hospital also recognized Shawna and Colby Cormier of Carencro as the recipients of its Fertility & Women’s Health Center’s 2012 Gift of Hope Award. The Gift of Hope program began in 2006 to provide a free cycle of in vitro fertilization to married couples whose insurance does not cover the treatment who otherwise could not afford the option.
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