SHOALS and SALEM, Indiana – Southern Indiana Community Health Care (SICHC) new obstetrics services for expectant mothers and families is “being well-received and making good progress in reaching mothers, babies and women,” according to Yolanda Yoder, MD, SICHC medical director. The new services include general obstetrics, pregnancy, well-baby, and well-woman services here and in other areas of southern Indiana, including expanded services in Crawford county.
“Rural areas traditionally present a number of unique challenges that expectant mothers or women who seek OB-related services may face, including limited service” said Dr. Yoder. “We have expanded our strong OB service offerings with our physicians and Melissa Ray, a family nurse practitioner, to meet these important needs in Washington, Martin, and Crawford counties, as well as the patients we serve in Orange and elsewhere in southern Indiana.”
“Pregnancy is a very special time for expectant mothers and families, and I count it a privilege to help support them with OB, well-baby, pediatric, and well-woman services,” Ray said. “Every pregnancy is different, and our entire medical staff recognizes the uniqueness of each patient and goes beyond to ensure great care is delivered.”
Ray provides OB services at the Choices Life Resource Center in Salem and at the Martin County Health Department/WIC facility in Shoals, as well as SICHC’s other locations in Orange and Crawford counties when appropriate.
In addition to being a family nurse practitioner, Ray holds a master’s degree in Nursing.
Ray directly cares for expectant mothers through in-person visits (observing COVID-19 precautions) and by telehealth connectivity. At 36 weeks into a pregnancy, Ray’s patients are transferred and then served directly by SICHC physicians, including Dr. Sean Salés, Dr. Karen Farris, and Dr. Yoder. Babies are normally delivered at the IU Hospital in Paoli by SICHC physicians with visiting privileges.
SICHC secured a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health earlier in 2020 to specifically help provide obstetrics services to counties that had been designated as medically underserved for OB.
Ray presently travels between SICHC medical offices in Shoals, Salem and elsewhere to see patients and provide general OB services. “Missy Ray offers our expectant mothers and their babies superb depth and first-hand experience,” said Dr. Yoder. “In addition to being a qualified and experienced nurse practitioner caring for OB patients and families these past four years, she served in the hospital delivery room for 16 years and as a general RN.”
“It’s very exciting to provide these services and help mothers, babies, families and women in general lead healthy lives,” said Ray. “I especially appreciate working with the OB and extended medical team at SICHC, because everyone here puts patients first, treating and supporting them as people, not a set of chronic conditions – there’s a very high commitment to service.”
Ray also appreciates being able to offer general women’s health services, including preventive measures like mammograms and pap smears. “We want to elevate the level of woman and family health, which can be a challenge for woman and families living in rural areas,” she said.
Serving as a nurse practitioner has special moments, including once when Ray helped with a delivery that was being securely streamed by video to a military serviceman serving in Afghanistan. “That was an amazing moment, giving a father serving across the world the chance to see his baby being born in southern Indiana – those are priceless experiences.”
# # #
About the Southern Indiana Community Health Care (SICHC) nonprofit organization – Well-known as a high-impact health care provider committed to continuity of care, the nonprofit Southern Indiana Community Health Care (SICHC) organization is committed to providing high-quality, comprehensive, community-sensitive health care utilizing Christ-centered principles to medically underserved, rural communities. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), SICHC serves as a “safety net” provider for vulnerable populations and focuses on increasing access to primary care services for Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural communities. SICHC offers medical care in medically underserved areas of Crawford, Martin, Orange, and Washington counties. SICHC is a member of the National Health Services Corps and receives program funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SICHC offers services to all persons, regardless of the person’s ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://sichc.org/