February 3, 2005
Free pregnancy tests and low-cost prenatal care for women with no insurance is the aim of Paradise Valley Hospital’s Family Assistance Program, which began Tuesday.
Some are young pregnant working women too old to be on their parents’ insurance and too poor to afford health insurance on their own. Others are foreigners working at Scottsdale or Paradise Valley resorts on short-term work visas who become pregnant with no way to pay for prenatal health care.
These are the circumstances of some of the women who gave birth in 2004 at Paradise Valley Hospital, said Irene Ray, the program’s coordinator.
A community baby shower will celebrate the center on Feb. 26, with free information on pregnancy services, food and children’s activities.
Of 1,742 babies born at Paradise Valley Hospital last year, 641 had received little or no prenatal care, Ray said. That statistic caught the attention of Paradise Valley Hospital physicians and officials.
"The Family Assistance Center will provide resources for individuals who would not otherwise seek health care, to encourage low-income or poverty-level pregnant women to seek prenatal care," Ray said.
A similar program at Maryvale Hospital in Phoenix four years ago has expanded to two other sites in the West Valley, Ray said. Paradise Valley Hospital’s Family Assistance Center will offer the first such program in the East Valley.
The program aims to help women deliver healthier babies and reduce the number of babies born prematurely or with birth defects, said Dr. Shannon Moorehead, chairwoman of the hospital’s obstetrics department.
"By having prenatal care, we know how far along the pregnancy is — because that’s difficult to determine when you just walk in in labor," she said.
The program offers lowcost physician checkups, and a $350 package covering laboratory tests and ultrasound procedures, Ray said.
"There are a lot of infections that we look for in pregnancy, like gonorrhea and chlamydia," she said. "Those are things that could affect the birth; they could give the baby eye infections that could cause blindness when they’re born."
Pregnant mothers also should be tested for hepatitis, syphilis and HIV, she said.
For information about the program, call (602) 923-5200.
New Family Assistance Center
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 26
Where: Paradise Valley Hospital, 3929 E. Bell Road, Suite 105, Phoenix
Information: (602) 923-5200