By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
Parents shouldn’t have to think about gas money when their newborn baby is in intensive care.
That is one of the driving factors behind the Millennium Medical Group’s partnership with Reba’s Ranch House. The group owns and manages multiple Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia. They are a national practice of Neonatologists—Pediatric Specialists that take care of newborn babies with extra needs.
Many of the families the Millennium Medical Group works with struggle with transportation issues. Some live hours away. For those who are even a 10 minutes drive, it can feel like an eternity when they’re separated from their baby.
“It’s hard enough having your baby be sick and not being in your room, much less having a baby that has to be transferred to another facility miles away,” says Dr. Snehal Doshi, CEO of the Millennium Medical Group. “As a parent, I couldn’t imagine my wife in one hospital and my baby in another.”
The unique benefit of the NICU at the Texoma Medical Center (TMC) is its close proximity to Reba’s Ranch House. Sometimes babies are transferred to TMC specifically because the parents can stay close to their babies during the long duration of their stay in the NICU.
“We don’t think about it but let’s say Mom and Dad have one car, maybe an old truck, and they’re driving 30-40 minutes every day to visit their baby,” Dr. Doshi says. “A lot of our families don’t have that cash to say, ‘I need to spend $20 to go see my baby.’ In today’s world, we shouldn’t have to think like that. So having a mom stay at the ranch house a few days to take that burden away helps them.”
Close proximity is also vital to the health of the mother and baby. Studies have shown that keeping the mother close to her baby reduces the chance of postpartum depression, lessens recovery time, and helps the new mom’s milk supply come in.
A special guest room at the ranch house is set up for mothers. There is a rocking chair and everything she needs to pump milk, including a small fridge to safely store it. Shower, laundry facility, food in the main kitchen…parents can feel at home and have peace of mind while they look after their newborn during the intense time.
While physicians focus on the health of the baby—some as tiny as one pound—the ranch house takes care of the health of the parents.
Dr. Doshi says, “We as physicians are so focused on treating the disease and that’s great. But you have to look at the whole patient and the whole family, because when you’re taking care of a baby, you’re also taking care of a family. Reba’s Ranch House provides that extra layer of support.”
“These partnerships are such a vital part of the work we do at Reba’s Ranch House,” says Michelle Lemming, CEO of the Texoma Health Foundation. “Organizations like Millennium Medical Group are the reason that 100% of guests at Reba’s Ranch House reported a positive impact on their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.”