Philadelphia used to have a Maternity Center on City Line Avenue. It was called Booth Maternity Center and later the name was changed to John B. Franklin Maternity Center to honor Dr. John Franklin a physician who was committed to provide quality care to women and their families. It closed in 1987 for many reasons. The reimbursement rate for maternity care in Pennsylvania was very low, there was not enough marketing of the health care and support services at Booth and more funding was needed from outside sources. The John B. Franklin Maternity Center was the best-kept secret in Philadelphia.
A Maternity Center is a Level 1 hospital, which provides care for women that have low health care risks. It has a diverse team of health care providers, nurse-midwives, nurses, OB/GYN physicians, pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, social workers, nutritionists, and mental health therapists. Providing continuity of care by midwives and physicians to include prenatal care, labor and delivery and postpartum care would reduce the incidence of preterm birth, low birth weight babies and cesarean sections. Women that have high-risk pregnancies would be referred to hospitals, which can provide the appropriate care.
What is a Birth Center?
A birth center is a homelike facility, existing within a healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy, birth and family health throughout the life cycle. Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention and cost effectiveness. Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during and after normal pregnancy, labor and birth. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association have stated that accredited freestanding birth centers are a safe setting for birth. Birth centers have a proven history of reducing low birth weight and preterm birth, the main causes of neonatal death in the U.S. It is estimated that if as few as 100,000 births in the U.S. occurred in birth centers it would save $314 million. There are 200 birth centers in the U.S. and the majority are owned and operated by midwives. For more information about birth centers go to: www.birthcenters.org/
Where can I give birth in my community?
The culture of birth has changed in so many communities in Philadelphia. Community hospitals have closed. Many hospitals have closed their maternity units. Many health care providers have either stopped delivering babies or are not able to obtain clinical privileges in hospitals. There is limited access to maternity care for women who do not have health insurance, where hospital systems and providers do not accept certain insurances or for underserved women who may not have transportation or childcare. In Philadelphia County the choices for childbirth are limited to the large teaching hospitals.