Business

Midwifery practice does much more than deliver babies

Operated by certified nurse midwives Simon Adriane Ellis and Laura MacPherson, Essential Healthcare and Midwifery is a new Federal Way practice that began taking patients in October. - Greg Allmain/Federal Way Mirror
Operated by certified nurse midwives Simon Adriane Ellis and Laura MacPherson, Essential Healthcare and Midwifery is a new Federal Way practice that began taking patients in October.
— image credit: Greg Allmain/Federal Way Mirror

Essential Healthcare and Midwifery is much more than two people who help deliver babies.

Operated by certified nurse midwives Simon Adriane Ellis and Laura MacPherson, EHM is a new Federal Way practice that began taking patients in October.

"We do all the primary care type stuff," said Ellis. "We do well woman visits (and gynecological) problem visits. We do a lot more than just pregnancy. People see us as only seeing pregnant people, which we do love, to do pre-natal care and catch babies."

"But that's only half our practice," said MacPherson. "The other half is annual exams, sprained ankles, kind of everything."

Tucked away at 33650 6th Ave. S. in Suite 100, EHM is owned by obstetrician and gynecologist Phoebe Ho, who owns a number of clinics in the Tacoma area. For those who visit EHM for pregnancy related care, Ho's involvement is a big plus, according to Ellis and MacPherson.

"It's backed by the OB/GYN, who serves as our consultant. She'll come and see our high-risk patients and things like that," MacPherson said. "We deliver babies at hospitals, we have that OB/GYN backup. Many of our patients choose epidurals, but for those who don't, we offer water birth."

Ellis said some patients do express concern about the level of training that he and MacPherson have, but again, said that Ho's partnership is valuable in reassuring patients.

"We have really tight consulting relationships with OB's, our practice is owned by an OB, and we talk to her constantly. So if anything changes, or is unusual, we have that person, always, to check in with," Ellis said. "If complications come up and it's no longer a normal, healthy pregnancy, we work with her (Ho). We don't refer out, we don't drop the patient completely and stop being in touch with them. We have that continuity of care."

For both Ellis and MacPherson, they hope the relaxed setting of their office, along with their philosophy of how to treat patients, makes people feel at ease and allows them to communicate more freely than they otherwise might with a doctor in a clinic.

"We see teenage women. Sometimes it's easier to sit and talk with a midwife when you're 14 and want to talk about birth control or other concerns," MacPherson said. "To sit and be able to talk with a midwife for half an hour rather than going to see a pediatrician, where you see the receptionist, the medical assistant, and then the doctor comes in for ten minutes."

"We set this room up with that in mind," Ellis said, referencing their workspace. "We asked for the big comfy chair so people can just sit and have a chat, and not be sitting on the table and feeling very clinical. We brought in artwork and colors that would make the space more comfortable to provide that personal environment."

Another part of their philosophy is that pregnant women are healthy and that it's a collaborative effort between the expectant mother and her health care providers.

"We believe that pregnant women are healthy. They come to us not sick. We don't tell them what to do. We give them options, discuss what our training has taught us, what their personal experience has been, and what they choose to do. (It's) a shared decision model," MacPherson said.

EHM is open to a broad spectrum of patients, according to the duo. They take all kinds of insurance and almost every kind of DSHS coverage. They operate on the weekends, and are more than willing to accommodate those who don't speak English as a first language. Because of their personal backgrounds, they said, they are also happy to receive patients from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT), along with people of color.

"We're really trying to bring a practice that's accessible, personal and welcoming," Ellis said.

Learn more

To learn more about EHM, visit www.essentialfedway.com or call (253) 237-0624.

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