I've never posted anything on here before. But I thought now would be a great time to share my feelings about the Naval Hospital here on Camp Pendleton.
Since I'm a very healthy person, I have only been seen there for regular well woman care. I have also taken my daughter there for pediatric visits. No real complaints. It wasn't until I became pregnant with my 2nd child that I found I had a real problem with the procedures at the Naval Hospital. 1) I went in for a pregnancy test. 2) It was positive. 3) They sent a note to my PCM who then sent a referral to the OBGYN. 3) I went to my first appointment with questions about being seen by midwives out in town. Their (short) answer: "We have midwives here at the Naval Hospital. Because we offer this service here, we will not refer you to a midwifery out in town." Well that would all be fine and dandy if the SERVICE was to my standards.
With my 1st pregnancy, I was seen by a lovely little midwifery up in Washington (my home state). The 3 Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) that worked there were all advocates of natural and non medicated childbirth. They even offered water-birth as an option to laboring women. I got the opportunity to meet with each midwife more than once. I knew that once I went into labor, someone I KNEW would be at my side. Every time I went in for a checkup the receptionist, Terry, recognized me. She knew me by name. We chatted. Then the nurse, Georgia, would come get me and check my vitals. We would laugh. During the time spent in their care, I became a part of a family. I mattered to them. It felt as if I were the only pregnant woman in the world. I FELT BEAUTIFUL. I FELT EMPOWERED.
When I began prenatal care here at the Naval Hospital, I FELT HELPLESS. I FELT POWERLESS. I felt as if I was just 'another military wife who had gotten herself knocked up.' I continued my care at the OBGYN for 3 months, thinking I had NO CHOICE in the matter. Here I am, in the 21st century, and I HAVE NO CHOICE. I called Tricare. I called the OBGYN. I asked and pleaded to be allowed to see CNMs out in town. The answer was always no, and was usually delivered in a rude, condescending tone.
What was happening here? My 1st childbirth experience was wonderful and now that I'm pregnant with my 2nd I have to regress into a time when women aren't allowed to make their own decisions? I wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer. I fought. And though I may have lost the battle, I won the war.
I was forced to dis-enroll from Tricare Prime and am now covered by Tricare Standard. The difference is simple, but when you speak to someone whose native tongue is insurance jargon, it can seem very complicated. Here is my breakdown:
PRIME: you are covered by insurance for all issues. You have a PCM who can refer you to services within the hospital or off base at no charge. This is ideal in many cases. In a low risk pregnancy, childbirth is NOT one of them!!! STANDARD: For non prenatal care, the insurance splits the difference of the care cost 20/80 (meaning Tricare will cover 80 percent of the bill and you have to cover the remaining 20 percent). There is also a deductible. Say your bill is $1,000. You begin the breakdown by paying for the deductible out of pocket ($200 not sure about the figure...just an example), leaving $800. Tricare will pick up 80 percent, leaving 20 percent for you to cover ($160). In order for me to dis-enroll in Prime, I had to sign a document saying that I was 'aware I could not re enroll for 12 months.' This wasn't a very risky decision since I am a healthy person and a good driver. Another perk to dis-enrolling from Prime, is that Standard has a maternity clause that covers prenatal care 100 percent and postnatal care 100 percent until 6 weeks postpartum. In other words, I PAY NOTHING.
Ideally, I would have preferred to stay enrolled in Prime AND have gotten a referral to a midwifery out in town. In order for this to have happened, however, the Naval Hospital should have given me the option upon reading the results of my pregnancy test. Instead, they automatically sent a referral to their OBGYNs and I became 'locked' in their system. Withholding information about alternate health-care from a patient should be a crime. Because of their failure to provide necessary information, I was forced to abandon full coverage health insurance. Come March 2009 (and until October), I will have no health coverage whatsoever.
I am currently being seen by midwives at a Birth Center in Hillcrest. There are 5 total; 3 full-time and 2 part time, so again, I will KNOW who is at my side come delivery day. It is the only facility in Southern California that offers water-birthing. They support natural and non medicated childbirth. They are advocates for breastfeeding. They treat me how I deserve to be treated. I can tell that they all love what they do.
If you are low risk, I would highly recommend looking into prenatal care with midwives off base. For more information, please visit www.beststartbirthcenter.com
Also, www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com is an excellent resource for those of you who would like to know more about hospitals and how much they resemble a business. You can rent it or watch it instantly on Netflix, but I would suggest buying the documentary. It's inspiring for women everywhere.
I KNOW how wonderful and special childbirth can be because I had a great 1st experience. What scares me are all the 1st time moms who attend the Naval Hospital and don't know that things can be different. Or worse yet, 2nd and 3rd time low risk moms who have gone through the hospital system and think that 'this is all there is.' There are better avenues. I encourage you all to explore them.
We, as women, have been capable of natural childbirth for millennia. Almost all laboring moms were assisted by midwives. Only in the last 200 years have hospitals been a 'necessary' facility for childbirth. What's strange is that the infant/maternal mortality rates and cesarean rates have risen.
Again, hospitals are great for HIGH risk pregnancies. Those who fall in under LOW risk should go elsewhere.
Just thought I would share. Please let me know what you think. I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for listening. Take care!
if i get pregnant before we move i will not have my daughter at the naval hospital. if they tell me i have to then i will just go out in town and pay out of pocket. i came to the naval hospital from georgia and i was 6 1/2 months pregnant. i was since twice before my daughter was born at the naval hosptial. it was the worst thing ever! i ended up with a c-section and now i might never have a vaginal birth due to there mistakes. but i know alot of people who have good things to say. i do remember tricare on the east cost you had 18 appointments! where here the lady told me i would have 9 if i would have gotten pregnant here. hope all goes well for you!
Hope things work out alright for you. I had my daughter back home, and loved my hospital. I've heard good things and bad things about the NH. But its like that everywhere.
I must say, I prefer civilian doctors over military doctors anyday though
Wow...with all the stories about the materinty ward at NH, I guess I got lucky. When we found out, they automatically sent me out in town because NH was full (we had a pretty good experience in VA and we had just moved so we didn't know any better). At first I was concerned, but now I couldn't be more thankful!
Come March 2009 (and until October), I will have no health coverage whatsoever.
Why is this?
I have used the NH for non-pregnancy related items and hated it. I have always seen civilians before and hope that if I ever get pregnant again, I will be seen off of base. I delievered the first time in a civilian hospital and loved both my dr and hospital staff. PS - I was high risk and delievered at a Children's Hospital b/c of the needs that my son would have once born.
Thank You for this Thread (OP). I felt exactly how you feel. I feel like they do not care about you. They do not know your name or remember who you are and why you are being seen! I do understand that they have tons of patients, but so does other hospitals. I want the people who "care" for me, really Care for me. You know!