Specialized Care Team Launched in Central Texas to Help High-Risk Expectant Mothers

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Temple provides support in role as regional referral center for high-risk moms and babies

Download B-roll of the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple Maternal Transport Team here.

TEMPLE, Texas – To offer transport to a high level of specialty care for expectant mothers and their babies, Baylor Scott & White Health has launched the system's first Central Texas maternal transport team.

Baylor Scott & White maternal nurses staff the team, which also includes pilots, paramedics and EMTs who will facilitate transfers of high-risk obstetrics patients via air and ground transfers from hospitals throughout the region. The maternal transport team begins service May 17, transporting patients to and from facilities inside and outside of the Baylor Scott & White Health system.

Mothers and babies who require a high level of care may be transferred to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Temple, which recently became the first hospital in Central Texas designated at the highest level by the State of Texas for both maternity care and neonatal intensive care (NICU), earning Level IV designations for each.

"As our maternal patients have increased complex medical conditions, they need a higher level of care," explained Jessica Clay Ehrig, M.D., a maternal fetal medicine specialist on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White – Temple who also serves as medical director of the maternal transport team and co-director of the labor & delivery department. "We have a wide array of specialists available 24/7, including sub-specialist physicians and highly trained obstetrical nurses, ensuring our ability to care for the most complicated obstetrical and postpartum patients. Our facilities include a large blood bank, intensive care services and ancillary support services that made it possible for us to provide the care that earned Baylor Scott & White - Temple a Level IV maternal care designation. Now, with the addition of a maternal transport team, we can work directly with our community providers to further elevate care in our region."

Expectant mothers at high risk for complications, including those experiencing pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, pre-term labor or postpartum hemorrhage, or those with multiple births, may need a higher level of care before and after delivery. Also, moms with health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, kidney or heart disease, cancer or a history of seizure disorders whose physician feels that they may be at risk may also benefit from Level IV maternal care.

A transfer of an expectant mother may also be recommended if her provider determines that the baby will need Level IV NICU care upon delivery because of pre-term deliveries, birth defects or other medical conditions. In these cases and when possible, the transfer of the baby while in utero is typically recommended. This approach also allows the mother and child to stay together in the same facility after delivery, where either or both could receive intensive care or other specialty care.

Serving an area of Central Texas bordered by San Antonio, Brenham and the Hill Country, the maternal transport team will facilitate patient transfers via dedicated ground and flight transports. Coverage will be offered 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday, at launch, and will eventually expand to provide service seven days a week.

"Maternal transport is an asset to all families in the Central Texas region to have this immediate, life-saving access to the most appropriate level of care for their specific needs," said Glenn R. LeBlanc, MSN, RN, regional director of operations for emergency medical services for Baylor Scott & White. "This adds to our service to the community and enables us to safely transport mothers and babies when a higher level of care is needed."

Through the maternal transport program, Baylor Scott & White is able to provide support to healthcare facilities throughout the region with the goal of improving maternal care outcomes. In addition to transporting mothers and babies to a facility where they can access the specialty care they need, the maternal transport team will also provide valuable education to care teams at referring hospitals during and after transport calls. Transfer calls from referring facilities are facilitated through a maternal fetal physician specialist on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White Health.

"We have the opportunity to be with these moms through one of their biggest days of their lives. When we take care of mom and baby, we're going to make it the best experience possible," Dr. Ehrig said. "Our goal is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, and that's where having the full complement and scope of care with maternal transport comes together."

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Physician Disclaimer

Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health"s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers, Baylor Health Care System, Scott & White Healthcare or Baylor Scott & White Health.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: BSWHealth.com