Suwannee Democrat


February 13, 2014

HamCo health department to coordinate with new clinic for OB-GYN services

Jasper — Florida Department of Health-Hamilton County Administrator Mark Lander spoke to the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners recently about how the health department and the new rural health clinic, Hamilton Primary Care, can work together to meet the needs of the community.

“Right now, OB-GYN services covered out of the health department in most rural counties and in all the counties that I know of, are either contracted with a separate entity or they’re referred out,” said Lander. “Currently, Hamilton County is contracted with the University of Florida.”

Lander said UF does a very good job with the services they provide.

“They come up once a week, but there are certain issues with the contract and the way the services are provided that I don’t think benefit our clients,” he said. “Number one, when they sign up for these services, they’re required to deliver in Gainesville. Number two, if an issue arises prior to that weekly visit, they have to drive to Gainesville for services.”

Lander said neither of those situations benefit Hamilton County clients economically or from a health standpoint. Now that Hamilton Primary Care is up and running in Jasper, Lander said the health department would like to either contract with them or refer OB-GYN clients to them.

“The provider Hamilton Primary Care currently uses works out of Live Oak and Lake City, and delivers out of Lake City,” Lander explained.

Problems have arisen in the past, Lander said, when the health department’s OB-GYN clients couldn’t make it to Gainesville to deliver and were transported by ambulance to a hospital in Lake City.

“That becomes a health issue because now the person doing the delivery, the first time they’ve seen this individual is when they show up in the emergency room,” Lander said. “They have no history. They have no medical records of that individual or any issues that may be involved.”

Lander told the commissioners he is already in talks with Hamilton Primary Care to contract with them and would like the support of the board. If all goes well, then Hamilton County OB-GYN clients will be able to go to Live Oak or Lake City in an emergency, rather than having to travel to Gainesville.

Lander explained that the county health department has had an ongoing contract with the facility in Gainesville for years and has no issues with the work they do, other than the logistical issue he mentioned, and that the facility is aware of the health department’s intent.

The board was in agreement with Lander and said they would be available if he needed any assistance.

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