Patients like choices. And the Christ Hospital Network is providing just that—especially for women—at its Outpatient Center at 1955 Dixie Highway in Ft. Wright, says Dr. Anita Weisberger, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at the facility.

“I know [the Christ Hospital Network] has a strong commitment in providing options and choices for women,” Weisberger says. And that’s important, she says. “Because I think that’s where health care does its best is when you have choices rather than only one place and one option,” says Weisberger.

Patients will soon have even more choices of facilities in the Christ Hospital Network, she says. The health network recently bought the site of the old Drawbridge Inn and Oldenburg Brewery in Ft. Mitchell with future plans to build a 75,000-square-foot medical office building as part of a larger, mixed-use development.

“The former Drawbridge Inn site presents an exceptional opportunity for us to expand our presence in Northern Kentucky and provide more choice and access for consumers,” says Mike Keating, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network, in a press release. 

But having a choice of facilities is just one facet of giving patients options. Weisberger says she is a big proponent in women’s reproductive choices in all aspects and currently women in Northern Kentucky don’t have all the options available to them. “I think that it’s a huge disservice in Northern Kentucky that there really isn’t a hospital system that women can go to have their tubes tied,” says Weisberger.

“We do have the option now of doing an in-office procedure to tie the tubes, but it really is something that anesthesia is needed for,” she says. “I think that’s the most comfortable way for patients to have that.”

In addition, not all women who want to have the procedure performed in a doctor’s office have that option available to them. “A lot of women with Medicaid, or even the health care exchange, some of those doctors that do it in the office may not be taking their plan because it’s limited,” Weisberger says. “And then those women are really stuck without an option.”

She says even though she is considered an in-network provider for most health insurance plans she can only perform the sterilization procedure at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. But because the procedure is performed in Ohio and not Kentucky many health insurance plans consider it out-of-network, which means it becomes too costly for many women, says Weisberger.

“I know Christ [Hospital Health Network] is really trying to work hard with Kentucky legislators in getting a facility up here [in Northern Kentucky],” she says.

“Because, really, the only places they can go are up to Cincinnati or they can go down to Lexington. And not everybody has the availability to do that.”

Without the option to have the sterilization procedure performed in Northern Kentucky women are not able take full responsibility for their bodies, she says. “Nobody should be telling women how to take care of their body and they should be able to make that choice themselves and have a place to go where they feel comfortable at and that they can make those decisions,” says Weisberger.

Feeling comfortable is at the heart of a new program at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Breast cancer survivors are supplied with a detailed history of their cancer treatments, such as what their diagnosis was, what stage they were diagnosed, what surgical procedures were conducted and what the pathology was from those procedures, says Terri Bogan, a nurse navigator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Called a survivorship care plan, the information is compiled during the course of a patient’s treatment for breast cancer and updated with every test and procedure, she says.

The survivorship care plan is important so patients have the information available in the future. “So that 10 years down the road when a patient goes to see a new doctor and they ask for information about their cancer history they have it all in one spot,” says Bogan.

“It really is providing a wonderful service because we all forget things in time and as fresh in our memory as it feels at the moment and you think you’ll never forget what you’ve been told and what you’ve been through I think we’ve all been in that situation where five or six or 10 years down the line it’s really difficult to recall the details,” she says. 

The information in the survivorship care plans is also more succinct and easier to understand for the average patient, compared to the large, jargon-filled medical records, says Bogan. “It would be very difficult for a lay person to be able to sit down and sift through that record and understand a lot of what was in that record,” she says.

“And so the survivorship care plan and the care planning process really is geared toward providing information for the patient and it’s done in a synopsis format so that it may be five or six pages long,” says Bogan. “But if you compare that to a chart that may be 500 pages long, it’s just a much more manageable way to digest and understand the information.”

The survivorship care plans were recently created by St. Elizabeth Healthcare because of a recommendation from accrediting organizations, such as the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, Bogan says. “They have a standard, but they leave it up to each individual facility to decide how to meet that standard,” she says.

The survivorship care plan program is available to patients at each of St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s comprehensive breast centers in Edgewood and Ft. Thomas, which offer a full spectrum of services, as well as its breast centers with imaging capabilities in Covington, Florence and Grant, says Bogan.

Although relatively new, the survivorship care plan program has proven to be popular. “It’s just been really well received by our patients,” she says.