Mercy Hospital Fort Smith Adds Obstetric Hospitalists

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith has added a new service to ensure that pregnant women have access to the care they need.

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith is launching an obstetric hospitalist program that will provide an experienced team of board-certified obstetricians 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The hospitalist program underscores our commitment to quality care for pregnant women,” said Dr. Andrew Riché, a board-certified OB-GYN and chief of staff for Mercy Hospital Fort Smith. “It provides peace of mind for our patients by providing additional expertise at a moment’s notice.”

OB hospitalists will deliver babies if a patient’s physician is unable to be present. In addition, these doctors will provide several services, including:

-Providing care in times of emergency prior to the arrival of a patient’s physician.

-Supporting the care of high-risk pregnancy patients.

-Delivering babies for patients who don’t have an obstetrician.

As part of the program, Mercy Childbirth Center in the Labor & Delivery building on the main hospital campus will have an Obstetric Emergency Department with four rooms dedicated to emergency care at any gestational age. Eight OB hospitalists have been hired.

“The on-site availability of the hospitalists improves the quality and safety of women’s health care, reduces risks, and supports local physicians and hospital nursing staffs,” Dr. Riché said.

Hospitalists are physicians who specialize solely in caring for patients who are hospitalized, rather than those in a clinical or outpatient setting. OB hospitalists are required to have additional training such as advanced fetal assessment and monitoring.

The program, not intended to replace a woman’s regular obstetrician, is offered in partnership with the OB Hospitalist Group, which staffs and manages programs throughout the United States.

Dr. Andrew Riché, a board-certified OB-GYN and chief of staff for Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, at far right, is shown with four of the eight OB hospitalists.