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OB/GYN services now available in Pass area to Medi-Cal patients

August 16, 2011

Originally published by:

BY VANESSA D. OVERBECK
Record Gazette

Published: Saturday, August 13, 2011 5:10 AM CDT

 

He’d seen it before. Women delivering babies with little to no prenatal care, arriving at the hospital without medical charts. He knew there was a model that alleviated the problem, so he brought the solution to Banning in the way of Inland Women’s Care Associates, Inc.

“There’s nothing like this clinic in the area,” said Dr. Karim Toursarkissian.
“There’s no established practice that will cater to patients who happen to be on Medi-Cal. By providing these services in town patients are no longer obligated to drive 20 or 30 miles to get quality medical care.”

The Inland Women’s Care Associates, Inc. offers obstetric and gynecological services to women with Medi-Cal and IEHP insurances.

if (isNaN(document.dfp_tile)) { document.dfp_tile = 0; } document.dfp_tile++; ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000; document.write(' Toursarkissian said in an interview that he opened the clinic to help women with these insurances receive regular prenatal and postnatal care, which is medical care for mothers and babies before and after birth.

“When I first started in Banning women would show up to the hospital with limited prenatal care and no medical charts,” Toursarkissian said, pointing out that many patients were challenged by a lack of transportation and had to rely on the availability of free clinics.

Toursarkissian has been delivering babies at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital for one-and-a-half years.

“You get a lot of one-on-one nursing. There are 20 superior anesthesiologists. You get a very supportive hospital and they want to expand obstetrics,” Toursarkissian said. “It’s really old-fashioned, traditional medicine, which you don’t see any more and there is low turnover so you really get to know the nurses. I have been very pleasantly surprised because I was wondering what I was getting myself into. I’ve even had patients that were dissatisfied with other hospitals brag about the quality of care at San Gorgonio.”

The clinic opened June 7 and in its first month of operations “Dr. T,” as his patients call him, already has 50 active patients on his books and the new clinic has overseen seven deliveries. Dr. Toursarkissian said it was a slow month. “You have to understand that OB/GYN’s are not nine-to-fivers. You’re dealing with people that are not satisfied unless they’re cracking at the seams.”

Toursarkissian would like to see his clinic grow to 20 to 25 deliveries per month and he knows there is enough need in the community to make that happen.

“This area has been really forgotten for many years. It’s underserved. Everybody flocks to the desert or to Redlands,” Toursarkissian said.”

For three years Toursarkissian operated a similar clinic in Redlands.

He said that the clinic was remarkably successful and they saw the number of patients arriving at the hospital with limited prenatal care or lacking medical charts drop dramatically. “We were able to mostly eliminate that problem in Redlands,” Toursarkissian said. “When I saw that I thought we could do the same thing in Banning.”

Tonya Pinkerton, the physician assistant at Inland Women’s Care, oversees the majority of patient care at the clinic, with the exception of high-risk patients. Dr. Toursarkissian said patients tend to relate better to the “traditionally female PA’s” who have more time to spend with the patients than the doctors. “It’s my goal to make sure that our patients feel that they are getting the best possible care,” Pinkerton said.

Toursarkissian, along with Dr. Samir Hage, supervises patient care, checking charts weekly and seeing patients monthly.

“They’re getting the same medical care as if they had any PPO or HMO. The forms are the same. The protocols are the same. The physicians are the same. The anesthesiologists are the same. The doctors are the same. The hospitals are the same. You get every thing the same. The only difference is you see the PA more,” Toursarkissian said.

Viviana White, a patient of Dr. Toursarkissian said she preferred it that way. White began as one of Dr. Toursarkissian’s patients at his main practice and then received a referral from her IEHP insurance to the clinic. “I love Dr. T’s PA, Tonya. She took the time to listen to me. She didn’t rush me out of the office. She listened and it seemed she actually cared about what I was going through. She called me at home to follow up. I’d never had that happen before with other doctors or clinics. I had never had an experience like that with any other doctor.”

White said that she had four complication-free pregnancies, but her last delivery, overseen by the clinic, concluded with her being induced one-week early, a necessity brought on by polyhydramnios, or excess amniotic fluid.

However, the quality of care she received gave her no reason to worry, she said. “Tonya had me in for extra check ups to be sure the baby and I were healthy. It was sure an experience but the staff there was great. Dr. T always had a friendly smile on his face and he was very kind,” White said.

Inland Women’s Care is located in Pinnacle Medical Group in the Kmart Shopping Center at 300 S. Highland Springs Ave., Suite 2D, in Banning. It is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at (951) 922-0511.

The staff at Inland Women’s Care will also help patients without health insurance find out how to become covered by Medi-Cal insurance and patients may be eligible for presumptive insurance to cover immediate prenatal services.