Home Community Women’s health care gets a boost at South Side hospitals 

Women’s health care gets a boost at South Side hospitals 

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Carolina Tovar holds her son, Ezra, who was the first baby born in Mission Trail Baptist Hospital’s new women’s services unit on Aug. 3. Courtesy photo/Baptist Health System

One South Side hospital has upgraded its women’s service unit, while another neighboring hospital received formal recognition for its maternal-care services. 

Mission Trail Baptist Hospital on Aug. 2 opened its new women’s services section, featuring a maternity ward with around-the-clock dedicated obstetrical personnel and emergency services. 

Just a day later, Ezra Tovar, son of Carolina Tovar, was the first child born in the new unit, delivered at 4:45 p.m. 

Meanwhile, the nearby The Birthplace at Texas Vista Medical Center earned a Level III maternal care center designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services, making it the only South Side facility offering an advanced level of maternal and neonatal care. 

Mission Trail CEO Michael Cline said the South Side’s continued growth spurred Baptist Health System to further invest in OB/GYN services at the South Side facility. 

He said about 600 expectant mothers visit Mission Trail each month. But, he added, many moms- to-be or growing families living on the South Side end up going to downtown or North Side hospitals, facing various challenges while seeking comprehensive quality care miles from home. 

“We thought it was very important to step up on the South Side of San Antonio and really be able to provide that service and keep people here together in the community,” Cline said. 

Mission Trail’s new women’s services unit includes nine labor and delivery recovery postpartum beds, seven postpartum beds, four obstetrical emergency department beds, two cesarean-section suites, an eight-bed neonatal intensive care unit and an eight-bed nursery. 

Mission Trail Baptist Hospital’s new women’s services unit features nine Labor and Delivery Recovery Postpartum beds, seven postpartum beds, and four Obstetrical Emergency Department (OBED) beds. Courtesy photo/Baptist Health System

It cost BHS $2.5 million to repurpose the existing hospital space over four months. 

Patti Tanner, BHS public relations director, said feedback from expectant parents has been positive about the expansion. 

“Moms are very excited. They get to stay in the neighborhood. They don’t have to travel to downtown or north of downtown or across town,” she added. 

On the Southwest Side, officials at Texas Vista Medical Center recently celebrated the state’s designation of the facility’s maternal care ward, The Birthplace, which offers services including a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, an obstetrical emergency department and board- certified OB/GYN physicians on site 24 hours a day. 

In order to earn a Level III designation, facilities must meet various criteria, including treating pregnant and postpartum patients with complex conditions that present a high risk of maternal illness or death. 

“Nothing is more important to us than supporting the health and well- being of every mother and baby who comes through our doors,” said Dr. Houmam Al-Hakeem, chief of staff of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Vista. 

TVMC’s designation follows an announcement by Palo Alto College that ensures infants born at Texas Vista will have access to post- secondary education. 

Texas Vista recently began Healthy Horizons, a program created to address the disproportionate health disparities in south Bexar County. 

Healthy Horizons promotes models of health equity via health screenings, partnerships with community agencies such as the San Antonio Food Bank, and activities designed to advocate healthy lifestyles. 

Palo Alto, another partner of TVMC, uses its Educate South community initiative to raise educational awareness at the earliest years by building public and private partnerships to foster a college-bound culture on the South Side. 

“Bringing together programs that focus on health and education not only improve the quality of life for residents on the South Side, it also means healthier families, a healthier community and a healthy future,” TVMC President Jon Turton said. 

Palo Alto President Robert Garza added: “In order to fully develop the potential of our community’s children, Educate South embraces the fact that education starts at birth.” 

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