Kittitas Valley Healthcare meeting essential services, reimagining rural obstetrics

June 4, 2024

Kittitas Valley Healthcare in Ellensburg was featured as an April 2024 case study with the American Hospital Association (AHA), detailing how the hospital used an innovative approach to providing obstetric services to patients. According to the hospital’s 2021 Community Health Assessment & Involvement Plan, the leading causes of hospitalization in Kittitas County are complications of pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium, certain conditions originating in the perinatal period. It was clear that obstetrics was a central community service, but when all three full-time OB/GYNs left the organization in 2023, the hospital needed a fix.

Although obstetrics services never paid for themselves, the hospital was committed to maintaining these services for the community. Having successfully worked with hospitalists and outsourced anesthesiology in the past, Kittitas began considering outsourcing as a solution. After considerable research, Kittitas engaged OB Hospitalist Group (OBHG), launching its new format in October 2023. Through the new arrangement, three full-time OB/GYNs each work a five-day stretch of clinic and OB call and then have 10 days off. Routine obstetric care is still provided by Kittitas’ family practice OB, a certified nurse midwife and an advanced registered nurse practitioner. This new format is also the only way for Kittitas to possibly break even providing these services.

Now more than six months into the transition, it may take up to nine months for the new model to become fully staffed by OBHG providers. In the interim, Kittitas is building resources and increasing the frequency of teaching drills and simulated training with their teams, and solidifying referral networks and relationships between providers for both maternal fetal medicine and gynecological oncology.

Read more from the American Hospital Association. (Tim Pfarr)


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