WinMed Health Services Adopts Circle of Care for All Pregnant Patients

Cincinnati (June 3, 2014) –Fueled by a Bethesda Inc. three-year, $375,000  grant,  WinMed Health Services is expanding a nationally recognized care model combining health assessment, education and support based on the concept of “centering” in its facilities to all its pregnant patients. 

“Women feel better prepared for labor, birth and infant care, and gain support and friendship through the group,” said Miriam Crenshaw, chief executive officer of WinMed Health Services. “Integrating personal connections and clinical oversight leads to healthier women and babies.“

WinMed, which operates 10 health services sites in Greater Cincinnati, is the nation’s first Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to implement both CenteringPregnancy® and CenteringParenting® programs simultaneously. When used together, the approach provides added continuity for families during the transition from pregnancy to the first 12 months of life. WinMed is also preparing for national certification by the Centering Healthcare Institute as the first FQHC in the country to be certified for pregnancy and parenting care.  

“The infant mortality rate in our community is unacceptably high,” said James Pearce, Bethesda Inc. board chairman. “This evidence-based approach creates an environment that will lead to better health outcomes for both moms and babies."  

Centering Program Shows Positive Results

Developed by the Centering Healthcare Institute, the process includes bringing together women at the same stage of pregnancy or infant care. The women are charged with several key health measures including: taking their own blood pressure, weighing themselves, and setting personal health goals. Then the group – along with a clinician – engages in facilitated discussions around important health topics. 

Focusing on the Winton Hills neighborhood, the WinMed pilot included 52 mother-baby twosomes in its first year. Of the Centering babies born to date, only one was low birth weight (six percent).  According to a 2011 study , the average cost of a low birth weight baby is $125,562 versus the average cost of a normal birth weight baby at $3,742

“Centering gives our patients added access to medical personnel and teaches them how to both take care of the baby and themselves. They can share concerns in real time and connect with peers experiencing the same things they are going through,” said Yvette Casey-Hunter, MD, Centering project director of WinMed Health Services. “Some have become friends after the program ends, checking in with each other even after the babies are born. It's kind of like family.”

WinMed has also worked with 58 parenting mothers, 14 male partners and 10 extended family members through its Centering Parenting program. The program focuses on both well-woman and well-baby care through a group setting. 

“My son is 15 months now and I’ve met a lot of good parents and babies here,” said Chasity Hughes, a patient of WinMed participating in the Centering program.  "I learned a lot and have shared some of it with my sister and my mother.  When I mention things we should or should not do with our children, they ask where I learned that.  I’ve also met another mother through this group and we’ve become so close, we talk on the telephone every day.” 

Twelve members of WinMed's staff are currently trained in the centering model. With the expansion throughout its program, another 16 will receive training in June. With the added staff capacity, the centering model will initially expand from Winton Hills to Bond Hill, Roselawn and by 2015 to the West End (City West), where WinMed is building a new facility.    

About WinMed

Striving to be Cincinnati’s BEST Patient Centered Medical Home, WinMed Health Services, a Section 330 (e) community health center, has provided primary health care services to diverse medically underserved communities in Cincinnati Ohio for over thirty-nine years.  Over the course of its history, the community-based Board of Directors and management staff have developed and successfully implemented strategies to expand access to care for low-income individuals, families and residents of public housing communities in its service area and currently provides preventative, primary health care and dental services at ten service sites and seven school-based clinics throughout Greater Cincinnati.  Winton Hills Medical and Health Center, Inc. has received local and national recognition for successful health outcomes from collaborative initiatives.