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COVID-19

COVID-19 has required fast action by healthcare workers and facilities. Policies are subject to change based on current situation and updates.

Letter to all clients found here: Client letter- COVID-19

3/21/2020

At this time is still accepting transfers of care. We have a limited number of spaces for each month due to our facility size and staffing capabilities. We will do our best to accommodate as many requests as possible. Please contact us at: midwives@rivervalleybirthcenter.com to request a virtual or phone meeting to complete an orientation. Once this step is complete, we can schedule an initial prenatal appointment. Email is currently the most effective means of communication for scheduling an orientation. If you have a private/commercial insurance plan we will be able to have you complete a verification of benefits with your insurance company so you better understand what your policy does and does not cover. We are covered by most insurance companies at the in-network rates. If you have a medicaid or MinnesotaCare plan, we are covered as in-network providers and no verification of benefits is needed. If you are self-pay or have a health sharing plan in lieu of health insurance, discuss that with our team so that payment can be arranged and paperwork can be submitted to your health share.

We will continue to utilize our current risk criteria for care. While we understand that families who do not meet the risk criteria may be concerned about birthing in a hospital, the safety in out-of-hospital birth is not equal for all people. In order to offer safe care, we must stick to low-risk pregnancies with anticipated low-risk births. Pregnancies with health conditions are still best handled in the hospital setting.

In order to qualify for transfer into RVBC care a pregnancy must be healthy and normal:

  • Singleton pregnancy
  • Head down baby if 36 wks or greater
  • Normal blood pressure
  • No underlying major illnesses or disorders
  • We cannot provide care for pregnancies in which medications are required to treat or control gestational diabetes
  • We are unable to accommodate transfers of care for people seeking VBAC services
  • Transfers of care are for birth center birth only (we are not currently accepting new homebirth clients)
  • Client must complete orientation AND attend a minimum of 1 prenatal visit before labor. If client goes into labor prior to their initial prenatal with RVBC, they must go to their previous provider.
  • If pregnancy is in the 3rd trimester, RVBC needs prenatal records, labs, and ultrasounds prior to first prenatal visit.
  • A person is not guaranteed a spot on our monthly roster until records are received and first prenatal appointment is complete and the individual is found to meet our risk criteria.

 

Current Guidelines and Expectations

It should be noted that we take this current health situation very seriously and we expect clients to as well. If we are unable to stay healthy and well, then the only remaining option for the community we serve is to birth in the hospitals. We strive to keep birth center care accessible without any gaps in provision of care during this time of high demand.

We know some may find some of the measures to be overly zealous and we hope that is true. It is important that clients are able to have confidence that River Valley Birth Center is doing everything we possibly can to keep the families we serve and our staff safe.

Some of the measures we are utilizing that require client cooperation for health and wellness of us all:

  • Expect to be screened for exposure and travel history. Temperature is taken at the door.
  • Clients must wash their hands on arrival. We also have hand sanitizer available. Please wash up before leaving as well.
  • Face masks will be available and wearing one during your visit is highly encouraged (we know.. we all look and feel ridiculous with one)
  • If you arrive early for your appointment, please wait in your car until scheduled visit.
  • Children are not allowed in the facility at this time as they have been known to carry COVID-19 with no or minimal symptoms
  • We can not provide in-person tours of the 2nd floor of the birth center at this time
  • At your initial appointment, you will be provided a kit of equipment and education to prepare you for telemedicine/virtual visits for appropriate appointments.
  • If anyone in your household is sick, you must reschedule in-person visits
  • At the time of birth, we are allowing a partner/support person and a doula. Any variation from that birth team would need prior approval
  • All members of the birth team will be screened prior to being allowed into the facility for the birth
  • We recommend at this time that ONLY the client attend in-person appointments, while we have so far allowed partners in for visits, this is likely to be restricted in this next week. Partners are more than welcome to participate in virtual appointments! No other guests/friends/family members may come into the birth center with you for visits.
  • You must agree to limit your exposure to people who reside outside your household as much as possible. The more contacts you have, the statistical probabilities of you coming into contact with COVID-19 and passing it to others increases.

In return for your cooperation, as a team these are some of the ways we work to protect you:

  • Our staff has been practicing social distancing and isolating since February and will continue to do so.
  • We screen ourselves for illness each day before working. Should any one of us be ill, we will make whatever changes are needed.
  • We have spent all of March working staggered times and working from home as much as possible to keep the facility clean and reduce risks to one another of asymptomatic spreading of illness. This is REALLY hard for us because we really like one another. The only times we are working side-by-side is during labors/births and we are extremely aware of interactions.
  • We have entered into agreements with other birth centers for staffing coverage should any one of our locations need assistance due to illnesses.
  • We have policies in place for infection control. Our facility cleaning, sterilization methods, laundry services, and practices regarding hygiene have always met or exceeded recommendations.
  • Every surface and piece of equipment will be disinfected between each and every patient contact.
  • We have policies and practices in place for staff washing of self on entering and leaving the facility and clothing laundering to reduce risk of cross contamination between home and work.
  • In the face of COVID-19 our uniform policy has become strict to best protect clients. You can anticipate seeing us with eye protection, masks, scrubs that are laundered on-site, with hair covered.
  • We have created means to provide care virtually for appropriate appointments to reduce traffic in the birth center. Many families will find it to be a relief to reduce their physical contact with others during this time.

Additional Resources for Information:

CDC on COVID-19 and pregnancy/breastfeeding

The Lancet

Canadian Association of Midwives

Evidence Based Birth COVID-19