KANKAKEE — Westwood Obstetrics & Gynecology LTD has worked as independent physicians in the community for years, providing care at both Riverside Healthcare and AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital. The group recently decided to move closer to St. Mary’s and provide most of their services through there.
Westwood moved from Wall Street in Kankakee to a completely remodeled office on the fourth floor of Med Center West, directly across the street from the St. Mary’s emergency room on Court Street.
The new office has the same square footage as the one prior, however, since switching to digital charts in 2008, the practice was able to do away with the storage room containing more than 30,000 paper charts.
The office’s moving and unpacking took place on Feb. 14 and 15, respectively, with Feb. 16 set to be the first day of services. However, services for Tuesday were canceled due to the heavy snowfall.
“But we’re ready to run,” said Dr. Roger Taylor of Westwood. “They basically knocked down walls and reconstructed everything the way that we needed it. It’s a very exciting new place and we’re looking forward to our relationship with St. Mary’s.”
Taylor said that the group’s partnership with St. Mary’s picked up pace about two years ago when Riverside moved most of its doctors out of St. Mary’s. The doctors that were from the Riverside Medical Group delivering at St. Mary’s contributed about 20 percent of the deliveries.
“That put a real stressor on St. Mary’s OB services,” said Taylor. “You have to have a certain minimum to make a program work. We didn’t really want to see St. Mary’s fail and we’ve been trying to increase our business [there].”
Taylor explained that there is an axiom with hospitals where if a hospital stops providing OB services and deliveries, eventually the hospital fails. Aside from insurance being a determining factor for location of healthcare services, a hospital’s well-being has a lot to do with individuals being introduced to local hospitals when looking where to deliver their children. Taylor stated this is a crucial form of self-referrals for hospitals.
Westwood has three physicians that are fully board certified, four advanced nurse practitioners, three of which are nurse midwives — one who does office gynecology and the other two perform OB-GYN services with the physicians. Westwood is the only midwifery service in the county affiliated with any hospital.
“This is a nice service that a lot of people really prefer and we enjoy having our midwives with us,” stated Taylor. “They’re excellently trained and, of course, they work with us, they’re not independent from us.”
In addition to standard obstetrics and gynecology services, Westwood works with more advanced surgeries including robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomies. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Karen Sanders have been doing these for several years at Riverside, and will now begin performing the surgery at St. Mary’s with the hospital’s brand-new, state-of-the-art robot.
However, Dr. Taylor is still performing some surgeries at Riverside, “because there are some things we cannot do at St. Mary’s. For example, tubal ligations,” said Taylor. “However, the whole team is doing all of their obstetric work at St. Mary’s.”
Taylor shared that this change is an exciting new direction for the group and that it seemed like the right time to make an affiliation with St. Mary’s.
“We’re trying to keep St. Mary’s a healthy place, in terms of business, so the doors stay open for the community,” Taylor said.