Baptist Medical Center East in Montgomery, Alabama tried for years to recruit a high-risk Obstetrics Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist, yet their attempts remained unsuccessful. Women’s Telehealth of Atlanta, MFM Providers, was introduced to Baptist East’s Chief Executive Officer through a strategic partner of both parties. The idea was that Women’s Telehealth could help fill this “gap” with a telemedicine solution. Although the health system readily embraced this plan, there were two large barriers; little telehealth experience and the fact that no payer in the state reimbursed for MFM telemedicine.
Following lengthy discussions with the largest payer in the state, MFM was approved as a telehealth reimbursable service. The project moved forward with hardware installation and training then services were launched. To date, it is the largest 100% MFM telemedicine project in the State of Alabama and thousands of MFM telemedicine imaging studies with consultations have been provided. In the first year of telemedicine services, only three patients were transported out of the community for more extensive in-person MFM services. Lloyd Sirmons, Director of the Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center (SETRC) and facilitator of SETRC’s Alabama Telehealth Workgroup was vitally instrumental in bringing together the key decision makers to make this project happen. This collaborative effort brought a necessary and life-saving service into a state capital whose citizens were underserved for MFM care.