HEALTH SENTINEL: Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola to open satellite OB-GYN clinic in Fort Wayne
Health care providers are increasingly wooed to practice their profession in sprawling urban hospitals owned by corporations or physician groups or that are part of university or other large, multi-facility health systems.
Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola is bucking that trend. The 25-bed community hospital is the center of care for the greater Steuben County area, which has a year-round population of about 33,000 that soars to around 100,000 when lake residents arrive, said Laura Lutterbeck, executive director of community relations for the nonprofit hospital.
Its roots dating back to 1926, the hospital is full service: surgeries are done, cancers are treated, babies are born and the emergency department operates 24/7. Now, this small independent hospital is soon to turn the tide on country-meets-city when it opens a satellite OB-GYN clinic in Fort Wayne on June 6.
Located at 2510 E. Dupont Road, Suite 112, the office will be staffed by Dr. Todd Rumsey, who joined the Cameron Memorial staff fulltime in August after working 22 years with Women’s Health Advantage (WHA) in Fort Wayne.
“I started seeing patients in Angola with a part-time office in 2012 with my former practice,” said Rumsey, an Indiana University School of Medicine grad who completed his OB-GYN residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, OH. A fulltime OB-GYN was hired in 2015 by WHA for the Angola office. When that physician left the community and the office was closed, Cameron Memorial had but one board-certified OB-GYN, Dr. William Smith, of Parkview Physicians Group.
“The big push was for another fulltime presence of a board-certified OB-GYN in Steuben County. I was in a position to provide that,” said Rumsey, who has lived summers with his wife and three children at their lake home near Angola for 15 years. His family’s connection to the area dates back even further. “My dad was born and raised in Steuben County,” he said.
Today, Rumsey’s lake home is his primary home, he said, adding, “My appreciation for this community has grown tremendously because of my immersion in it.”
According to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 58 percent of the primary care provider shortage is in nonmetropolitan areas. That is particularly true for obstetric services, according to the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center.
A recent Health Disparities in Rural Women report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found that prenatal care in the first trimester was lower for mothers in more rural areas compared to their suburban counterparts. Access to delivery and related services is also a concern, with the report revealing less than one half of rural women live within a 30-minute drive to the nearest hospital offering perinatal services.
Rumsey’s current patients are about an even mix of Steuben and Allen county women. In addition to privileges at Cameron, he has retained privileges at Dupont Hospital and Parkview Regional Medical Center but said primary emphasis is on providing care in Angola.
Cameron’s Fort Wayne OB-GYN office will be open Wednesdays only at the start. Fort Wayne women who can make the drive to Angola for office visits and for delivery are encouraged to do so, “but to be truly patient-centric, it was not feasible to ask all women to see me in Angola,” Rumsey said.
Cameron OB services include nurse-midwife Bobbi Brown, who works out of Rumsey’s office and handles office visits or deliveries if Rumsey is attending to women in Fort Wayne. Even if he takes a vacation, Rumsey said several friends, all OB-GYN residents with him and who now own Steuben County lake homes, have committed to filling in as needed.
All insurance except Three Rivers Preferred is accepted at the Cameron OB office, Rumsey said, emphasizing, “A woman shouldn’t have to switch doctors based on politics and insurance. We want to decrease the barriers to access.”
With a strong presence of Trine University as well as industries such as Miller Poultry, Metaldyne, Univertical, Cardinal IG and others in Steuben County, the area is definitely thriving and growing, Lutterbeck said, noting when housing options are discussed during physician recruitment, doctors are told, “Here in Steuben County you can have anything you want. You can have a lake home, live in in an older two-story in town or live in a condo.” Significant investment in community development is on-going, she said.
From an obstetrical complexity standpoint, Rumsey said 90 percent of women’s needs can be handled at Cameron, which is “a new facility with technology and human resources that can compete with everyone. We have full service here. This is not backwoods medicine. Cameron’s focus is to provide the patient-centered care people want.”
Jennifer L. Boen is a freelance writer who writes about the health field. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of News-Sentinel.com.