Providence Medical Group offers multiple women’s health services regionally, but never before this year did it have an obstetrics and gynecology group.
That changed Feb. 1 when practitioners formerly in the private practice of OB/GYN Associates of Spokane moved under the Providence umbrella to new quarters on the sixth floor of the Sacred Heart Doctors Office.
Now called Providence Obstetrics & Gynecology, the group brings physicians Robin Messinger, Jody Hechtman, Ashley Henderson, Jean Ruth and Traci Satterfield and nurse practitioners Jana Stuckrath, Laura “Jan” Wills, Sally Delger and Brieanne Gray.
“Many of our employees have been with us for 35 years or more,” Messinger said. “The physicians, nurse practitioners, care providers and support staff have all transitioned over. It’s made the transition so much less stressful.”
Dr. Steven Richards, previously of OB/GYN Associates, moved to Providence Surgical & Medical Gynecology, which provides minimally invasive and robotic surgical care for gynecologic conditions.
OB/GYN Associates itself dates back to the early 1960s, with nearly 60 years in service as one of four OB/GYN groups downtown, Messinger said. Other separate practices today are MultiCare Rockwood OB/GYN & Midwifery Center, Spokane OBGYN and Northwest OB-GYN.
Messinger said that OB/GYN Associates joining Providence made sense to be part of “more global, more thorough” women’s health services. The group has long worked with Providence specialists, Sacred Heart’s birth center, its neonatal intensive care unit and the system’s focus on safety and improving care, she said.
The transition also means that the group will deliver babies only at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
“With obstetrics, it’s very difficult to try to spread oneself among multiple hospitals – so we’ve always been exclusively downtown – previously with both hospitals and then now obviously exclusively operating out of Sacred Heart, which is a change also,” she said.
“We appreciate their Level 4 NICU, their specialty services. It seemed like a great opportunity to provide even better care for our patients who are in the community.”
Messinger said the Spokane area’s overall women health services have “amazing obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives,” across all practices and health care systems. Providence Obstetrics & Gynecology just happens to have all female providers, but that wasn’t always the case.
“I think what makes us special is less our gender and really more that we have worked with each other for a long time and we practice very similarly. We each feel that our partners’ patients we care for like they are our own. We have great communication with one another, and we have this well-established support staff that is an extra layer of safety, and really if anything, that’s what makes us successful.
“We are very grateful for the culture that we have within our office, within our group, which is very much taking care of the patient in the way that she needs best and being very respectful of some of the subtle nuances that are needed in our particular specialty.”
Adding more resources under Providence include having seamless transitions for patients to see high-risk maternal-fetal medicine experts, she said, or to go to other specialists. It’s also a chance for the group’s providers to have a say in the future of women’s health services at Providence, Messinger added.
“Then also, just as simple as having the same electronic medical record and being able to see that, it really takes away a lot of opportunity for error, so even being able to all be on the same page in the same system.”
Messinger encouraged women to make their annual appointments if that’s been delayed. “It has been a long two years. Throughout the epidemic, a lot of burden has often fallen on the women of our community, and sometimes we’re not as good about taking care of ourselves first. I’d just encourage the women of our community to make that effort and see their doctor and get that preventative health care done.”
Kathy Tarcon, Providence Medical Group chief operating officer, said acquiring OB/GYN Associates will streamline services.
“We’ve had a variety of other women’s services for some time, but we did not have OB/GYN within our medical group, so when OB/GYN Associates came to us and talked about joining our group, we were very excited because we felt like they are a good complement not only with their reputation for care but also in their alignment with our mission.”
Providence has offered similar services in the past that align with OB/GYN, such as family medicine with obstetric services, Tarcon said. It also has long provided high-risk pregnancy services, gynecological oncology, surgical and medical gynecology, and then related infant services along with family medicine and primary care, she said.
“We have the region’s only level 4 NICU, so mothers with deliveries that are at high-risk and perhaps with infants born prematurely or with some sort of medical issues, we have the highest level of care,” Tarcon said. “Having this group who provides the OB/GYN services that women can go to at age for care really added to our team, so we can provide the full spectrum of women’s care.
“We have a good relationship with the other OB/GYN practices in town and will continue to partner with them as well if they bring patients to Sacred Heart or Holy Family Hospital. We really enjoy a good working relationship with all the practices but are very excited to have OB/GYN Associates as part of our Providence family.”
The group’s services include gynecological care such as Pap smears and checkups, family planning, obstetrics, lab and ultrasound. Messinger said it covers a spectrum of care from adolescence through menopausal, including menstrual abnormalities or puberty issues, contraceptive care, pelvic pain and minimally-invasive surgeries.
If patients through the former OB/GYN Associates want to make appointments, they can call the Providence location at (509) 455-8866.