PLYMOUTH – New mothers with limited access to physicians in Richland County have a new option for care with the addition of a Mom & Baby Mobile Unit in Plymouth.
The unit, owned by OhioHealth in partnership with March of Dimes and Third Street Family Health Services, will officially open for services at 10 a.m. on June 28. It is currently located at 48 W. Broadway St. in Plymouth, but has the ability to travel as needed.
“We’re rewinding the clock a little bit to the idea of how we’re addressing the whole needs of Richland County,” said Jared Pollick, CEO of Third Street Family Health Services.
Pollick explained Third Street recently expanded its primary medical and dental care from Mansfield into the city of Shelby. With that model, they also expanded their obstetrics practice into Shelby – services that pertain to childbirth and the care of women giving birth. Then they wanted to go further.
“There is a population in the more rural parts of the county that just doesn’t have the same access that folks in Mansfield and even Shelby do,” Pollick said. “We can take this right to the locations, it’s far more accessible, and it comes with all the benefits of being part of Third Street and OhioHealth.”
Partnering Third Street and OhioHealth was a natural step, Pollick said. Collaboration was also a main goal for Jean Halpin, president of OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, particularly when creating a community health needs assessment plan. The plan identified infant mortality as a top priority to address.
“This becomes a solution, and a step – it is not the only solution, it’s collaboratively working through public health and working with our physicians, but we recognized that in Richland County there are many communities that do not have a physician,” Halpin said. “With the mobile unit we are able to bring that care, and starting here in Plymouth.”
Halpin explained the Mom & Baby Mobile Unit addresses the county’s infant mortality problem by connecting women to prenatal and postpartum care. According to Richland Public Health, Ohio is currently ranked 45 in the nation for infant mortality rates, and Richland County is ranked 72nd out of 88 counties.
“A lot of times after moms have their babies they have millions of questions,” Halpin said. “Education on safe sleep really makes a difference.
"It’s also connecting with them to make sure there are no problems, and helping a woman get to 40 weeks before they deliver because a baby born early has a higher risk of infant mortality.”
As part of the partnership, OhioHealth owns the physical Mom & Baby Mobile Unit but Third Street is providing the medical care. Dr. Navita Modi of Third Street will be providing OB services in the mobile unit; she is also the resident OB for Third Street at OhioHealth Shelby Hospital.
“It’s wonderful to work with folks at OhioHealth to say how can we bring our strengths to the table to combat each other’s weaknesses and make this work better,” Pollick said. “At the end of the day the people who benefit the most from that are the patients getting higher quality service at a more affordable rate.”
Currently the mobile unit will remain at its Plymouth location for services from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Pollick hopes that in the future, the unit will be able to visit pocket areas that need the most help to provide the best care for mothers and babies.
“We’re here, we’re available and we provide a very high quality service,” he said. “One thing we’ve learned is convenience is key, and that’s where you get the best outcomes. We see a need in a population, and we’re trying to fill it.”