By Roslyn Giles
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)- Glenn LeGaspi gave birth to a healthy baby girl 2 months ago after receiving prenatal care at the Trinity Center for Women in Columbus. As a single mom with limited insurance, LeGaspi couldn't afford to pay for the care she needed.
"I don't make enough money; I work at Dillard's and was able to get Medicaid, added LeGaspi." During a consultation at Trinity, LeGaspi was advised to apply for Medicaid. She filled out the paperwork at the Columbus Department of Health and received coverage.
The federally-funded insurance eliminated LeGaspi from paying a $5000.00 deductible and 20 percent required by her primary provider. It was music to her ears. "I am very pleased; I can spend my money on diapers and milk."
Its women like LeGaspi who either have limited resources or no coverage at all who inspired a group of doctors and St. Francis Hospital to open Trinity. "Over 60 to 70 percent of pregnant women in the Columbus area do not have health insurance. A lot of those women were not seeking OB care and we know that those who do not have OB care don't have as healthier pregnancies," said Dr. Susan Epley, OBGYN.
The physicians are targeting the alarming statistics in baby deaths. Columbus' Infant Mortality Rate is almost 50 percent higher than the national average and the number of low birth weight babies is about 33 percent higher than the national average.
Three midwives are also on staff offering alternative care. "In 15 months, we have served over 2000 patients. The Midwives are for women looking for other choices, natural deliveries or water births. These women get the same quality of care we offer in our private offices," explained Epley.
The latest technology is also used such as 3D Ultrasound, fetal monitoring and lab work. "I have a 3D picture of my baby, so I knew what she looked like before she came out," said LeGaspi.
Dr. Epley said it's too early to tell how much of an impact Trinity is having on the IMR since the center has only been opened a year and three months, but with 10 to 20 healthy babies being born a month, she's confident Trinity will make a difference.