Cambridge Hospital Gets Funds for New Services
In a move designed to bring affordable medical care to the residents of East Cambridge, the federal government has begun to fund expanded obstetrical and gynecological (OB/GYN) services at the Cambridge Hospital, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-Mass.) announced at a hospital press conference yesterday.
Kennedy said that East Cambridge has been designated a "medically under-served area" for OB/GYN services.
The designation makes Cambridge Hospital eligible for federal funding to employ a public health service physician, said John G. O'Brien, hospital administrator, in an interview yesterday. In return for federally funded medical education, a public health service physician--in this case Dr. Molly Clark--agrees to practice for six years wherever the government deems necessary.
The hospital has taken advantage of Clark's appointment to create a new community-based OB/GYN service that employs two doctors and four nurse midwives, O'Brien said. The health workers operate out of six Cambridge neighborhood health centers affiliated with the hospital O'Brien said.
"It's the health care providers who really ought to be congratulated," said Kennedy at the ceremony. "They are the ones providing critically needed health services day in and day out to the people of Cambridge."
"We are very excited about the new program," said O'Brien. "The program has been well received throughout the community, especially by the impoverished linguistic minority." Both Clark and Dr. Lou Laz, who works with Clark on the project, are fluent in Spanish, and Laz speaks Portuguese, according to a Cambridge Hospital news release.
The Cambridge Hospital's OB/GYN program is unique because a single doctor or midwife treats each patient throughout her pregnancy, said Laurie Volkin, a representative of the hospital's public relations department.
Patients served by most other community health services are treated by whichever doctor or nurse is available when the patient visits the office, Volkin said.
The health centers will also offer Cambridge residents education about pregnancy, information on nutrition and insurance counseling, said Volkin. The hospital will not turn away any patients because of inability to pay, she said.