The following clarification was sent to the Mirror in order to clear up a misconception in our piece “Dispute Between Eastern Shore Rural Health and Riverside Hospital Threatens Pediatric Care.”
Continuity of care is not an issue. Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital (RSMH) stopped offering pediatric inpatient (in hospital) care before moving to Onancock. Our pediatric patients are typically admitted by Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. The only inpatient pediatric service offered at RSMH is care of newborns at the nursery. The first well-baby visit, when newborns are seen at our centers for the first time, is typically when the baby is about three to five days old. Given the only inpatient pediatric care at RSMH is the newborn nursery, Rural Health’s withdrawal from nursery coverage does not signal a significant shift in health care dynamics. Our providers will continue to follow our pediatric patients requiring hospitalization, after discharge from the hospital, just as we have always done. Please note that the model of having community pediatricians take care of children in the hospital is an outdated one. The handoff of newborns, from hospitalists to community pediatricians, is found throughout the nation.
There are complexities faced by healthcare providers in sustaining comprehensive services in rural areas. We are fortunate to have Riverside Health System on the Shore! However in this instance, the services we provide to the Shore’s children are only changed for the better given the additional appointment slots we can add when our coverage of the hospital nursery ends.