New Women's Center at LMH Health West Campus provides care under one roof
Jessica Brewer, LMH Health
The new Women’s Center at the LMH Health West Campus was designed with convenience, time and care for our patients in mind. One major goal was to provide a center that could handle most of the care patients need all under one roof, just a seconds walk away from each other.
Megan Pedersen, director of specialty clinics, said this multidisciplinary approach has only been enhanced and grown in the planning and designing process.
“There has been much thought put into making it convenient for women to get the care they need in a way that will allow them to live their lives to the fullest by getting some time in their days back,” she said. “We are going to make it easier for women to get the care they need.”
Many aspects can go into women’s care. It was important for the Women’s Center to be equipped with advanced technology but also to provide high-quality care in a one-stop-shop format for our patients. Here is a look into some of the services that will be provided at the new LMH Health West Campus.
Michele Bennett, a physician with Lawrence OB-GYN Specialists, was one of five physicians at LMH Health to take the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) certification exam. To receive this certification, physicians receive additional education on the care for menopausal patients, and more specifically, more complicated menopause patients.
“We are excited to continue growing our menopause services,” she said. “We want to offer our patients the best care and experience possible. Receiving extra training in some more difficult menopause cases allows me and our team to offer my patients all potential treatment options.”
When it comes to menopause care, it often isn’t a topic Dr. Bennett handles alone. Having colleagues close by that are involved in the patient’s care will create a team for long term solutions.
“When it comes to complicated cases, we are often calling on other subspecialties to see that we are all on the same page,” she said. “Having many of these clinics we rely on in one location will be amazing. We will be able to partner and collaborate with them better and more efficiently because we will be so close in proximity.”
Pelvic floor health
Kathy Ramirez, an advanced practice provider with Lawrence Urology Specialists, says when it comes to pelvic floor issues, they often go unspoken about.
“On average, a woman deals with pelvic floor issues for seven years before they are addressed,” she said. “I am so excited to be going deeper into this area of focus out at West because so many women do not talk about topics like prolapse or incontinence often enough. It can be rather taboo and I want to break down this stereotype.”
Ramirez says she tells her patients that issues like these are common and that there is often a fix for them. There is no reason to suffer alone, and it is ok to talk about these issues.
“Addressing pelvic floor conditions can be life-changing,” Ramirez said. “It’s not ok to live in pain and in fear. Procedures and physical therapy can be a game-changer for some women in these areas.”
Physical therapy will be housed directly next to pelvic health. Being able to conveniently schedule an appointment right there and then may be the difference between patients saying yes or no.
“Often, if I offer treatment to my patients and when they hear about the time commitment and scheduling they sigh and say they’ll think about it,” Ramirez said. “Most of the time we don’t hear back from them. Now, since physical therapy is directly next to us, they can step in as soon as I leave the room. If we need advice from another person in the field, they are close by. There will be little need to drive across town for another clinic over a few days, now it is all in one, convenient location.”
Scarlett Aldrich, a physician with Plastic Surgery Specialists of Lawrence, said she is excited to focus her time at the West Campus on breast care. From the calmness of the building to the ease of care, Dr. Aldrich is ready to provide her patients with the best possible experience.
“Talking about breast cancer and cancer care is a hard topic and can be overwhelming to patients,” she said. “The West Campus is so open and filled with light, which creates a lot of peace and calm when patients come for visits. Providing the opportunity for women to combine several aspects of their care at one time will efficiently bundle and minimize the time spent in a doctor’s office so that they can focus on maximizing their quality of life everywhere else!”
Many other providers and clinic staff will be available to assist in coordinating future appointments and help to minimize appointment time and maximize time away from the hospital.
“It also promotes easy and efficient communication between providers when our offices will be just steps away from one another,” Dr. Aldrich said. “This is an exciting step forward in the future of LMH Health!”
Jennifer Hawasli joins LMH Health as one of the newest members of our Women’s Center teams. She is a physician who is fellowship-trained in breast surgical oncology and is excited to bring the latest advancements in care to her patients along with the incredible accessibility the Lawrence community will have to quality care out at the West Campus.
“From the breast center, mammography, plastics, radiology and even outpatient surgery, having all of these services in one place helps ease anxiety for breast patients,” Dr. Hawasli said. “Today breast cancer can be treatable but requires multidisciplinary care and patients have to go to multiple physicians. Decreasing locations and bringing many members of the breast cancer team under one roof helps decrease stressors.”
A focus on reproductive mental health
LMH Health is fortunate to have Melissa Hoffman on our medical staff. Hoffman is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who focuses on treatment for people during their reproductive years. She is a key member in caring for our mothers in the LMH Health Women’s Center and she started Build Your Village, a group at LMH Health that offers peer support for pregnant and parenting people to talk about mental health during pregnancy and postpartum periods.
“One in five people will experience a depressive episode in pregnancy or after the birth of a baby,” Hoffman said. “The prevalence of perinatal mental health complications are even higher when you consider anxiety and rates of behavioral health issues such as substance use disorders. Offering integrated mental health care in the women’s center, increases access to mental and physical care all in one setting.”
Hoffman’s services go beyond just new mothers, it also includes management of psychiatric illness during reproductive events, such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation, infertility, perimenopause and menopause. Having these services out at the LMH Health West Campus to coincide with our other gynecological and women’s health experts will allow for our patients to receive the holistic care they need and while addressing concerns with multiple specialized providers. With many different physicians, providers and care staff readily available for patients, we will not only be able to help provide seamless and warm handoffs but save time, effort and give women time back into their daily lives.
“LMH West can streamline and optimize care for women,” Dr. Bennett said. “We can now provide the same quality of care more conveniently and efficiently. Our patients will gain time back in their days and be able to live their lives to the fullest.”
Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communication specialist at LMH Health.