For moms in Savannah and the Coastal Empire

MOMS-TO-BE BEWARE!!!!

MOMS-TO-BE BEWARE!!!

I am writing to voice my displeasure with The Midwife Group and Birth Center on Chatham Parkway in Savannah, GA.

In June of this year I called The Midwife Group and Birth Center and spoke with Karen, the Office Manager. I advised Karen of my intent to switch practices and asked what I needed to do to have my records forwarded and receive a reimbursement on my account, which I had paid in full in advance and now would not be using all of the paid monies for services. I was informed by Karen that all I needed to do was sign a waiver and disclosure and that my records would be sent to my new doctor and a reimbursement would be mailed out to me.

The first week of July I faxed over the signed forms to process the forwarding of my records and the closing of my account. I spoke with the receptionist at The Midwife Group and Birth Center to ensure that the paperwork was received.

Then I waited… and waited… and waited. No reimbursement arrived. During this time I made NUMEROUS attempts to contact Karen and none of my messages were returned. Finally, in the last week of July I was able to reach Karen. I was informed that a check had been cut and that Nancy had all the checks to be signed, but wasn’t in the office. Karen assured me that my check would be in the mail promptly.

Again, I waited… and waited… and waited. Still no reimbursement. Again, I began trying to reach Karen to check on the status of my account and after several attempts was able to reach her on August 18th. At that time I was informed by Karen that Nancy was not in the office and there was no way for her to check on the status of my account. When I pressed the issue she was able to tell me that a check for my reimbursement had been printed on August 13th (mind you August 13th was two weeks AFTER she told me that a check was in the mail on it’s way to me). I voiced my displeasure with the fact that it had been a month and a half and my account still had not been resolved and was met with a rude response and irrelevant excuses. Instead of enter into a futile argument, I asked that Karen double check the status of my reimbursement and update me immediately.

When I had heard nothing from Karen by Monday, August 23rd I began calling The Midwife Group and Birth Center and asking to speak with Karen or Nancy in an attempt to resolve my account. When I was able to speak with Karen around 11 am on Monday, I was again told that she was checking into my reimbursement and would contact me as soon as she spoke to Nancy. Around 3:30 on Monday I had not received a return phone call, so, knowing that The Midwife Group and Birth Center closes at 4 pm, I called again. At that time I was told by Karen that she had printed a new check for me (check #3 according to her) and that she could either mail it or I could pick it up. I agreed to pick it up first thing Tuesday morning.

I was hoping that my frustrations with The Midwife Group and Birth Center would be coming to an end when I picked up the reimbursement check on Tuesday, August 24th. However, that was not to be the case.

Upon receiving the reimbursement for my account I noted that I had been charged $1053 for my TWO visits to The Midwife Group and Birth Center. I, as I’m sure many of the clientele there do, initially chose The Midwife Group and Birth Center because it boasted “significantly lower cost of … services” as compared to traditional prenatal care and delivery. I was astonished to learn that I had been charged astronomical fees for ‘services’ such as taking MY OWN blood pressure, weighing MYSELF, filling out MY OWN medical history and listening to a two and a half hour group sales pitch on midwifery and the products sold at The Midwife Group and Birth Center.

Furthermore, I find it questionable at best that two visits cost me over a thousand dollars, but $4456 was supposedly going to cover my entire pre-natal care, delivery, care of the newborn and follow-up visit. I would be keenly interested in seeing the entire breakdown of fees for a pregnancy, delivery and follow-up care at The Midwife Group and Birth Center.

Pregnancy is supposed to be an exciting and happy time in a woman’s life, and I feel that my pregnancy has been dampened by my negative experience at The Midwife Group and Birth Center. I would hate to see that happen to another woman and therefore I will do my utmost to ensure that no woman I know goes to The Midwife Group and Birth Center.

 

user comments

My experience with them

Lets see. I had two kids with them....the first (which was my scond birth center birth) went great...quick 8 hour labor...perfect prenatals....and during the second one (my third vaginal birth center birth)...I made the mistake of telling their psychologist there too much information about my life. Now they wont see me there for my 4th pregnancy...and they wont tell me why. So far Im 23 weeks ..maritaly and financial stable (upper class even) and into my 4th child...and Im going perfectly fine at my OB. I dont know what their problem is...but really if they cant handle someone being honest to them about their lifes ups and downs...then maybe they cant handle people very well. Everyone has problems at one point or another in their life and might need some advice to assit them. They made me feel less of a woman for talking to a psychologist (which they provide)...less of a person. I'd never been so insulted in my life. I cryed for a long time over them.

 

So my warning to others is...since they only see perfectly healthy people there...make sure you look AND sound that way.

I understand your frustration

I understand your frustration with the billing and trying to get a reimbursement, but I'm thinking that midwife care out of the hospital is not for you and that has nothing to do with the quality of care from the Midwife Group that you are warning others about.  If you are telling moms-to-be to BEWARE but are complaining about the billing side, then that's a little unfair to lead others to think that the quality of care is not good.

The whole model behind the midwifery care during pregnancy is awesome at the birth center.  The reason they have you check your blood pressure and put your info in your chart is so YOU will take responsibility for your care during pregnancy.  They can't force you to be healthy, but they can try to put more responsibility back in your hands.  I loved that I had my chart every single time I went in for my last pregnancy and again for this current pregnancy.  

I switched at 20 weeks pregnant during my last pregnancy from an OB (who had been my GYN for almost 10 years).  At my first appt with the birth center, I was shocked to look through my chart and see the records that had been sent over from my previous OB.  There was so much information in the file that was not correct.  It made me feel even more confident that I made the right decision.   My last OB would never let me see *my* own medical chart.

As far as the two hour "sales pitch"  Ummm, do you know why many people choose midwife care over OB care?  It's because of the time spent making sure you UNDERSTAND the process, which begins with your care provider you choose.

And about your bill....now, I'm not saying it's correct and I'd definitely check into it as well, however, I've only had 2 visits there this pregnancy as well and the first was the labwork (costly) and and ultrasound (costly).  I'd be willing to bet that the first appointment alone with that type of service would be the most costly of all of your appointments until the actual birth.  The other appointments are very basic and wouldn't cost as much as the first visit and the labor/birth.  So if you are talking the total cost should be around $4,500 and you have a bill for $1,000 and all you had left to do was very, very basic appointments until the end....that sounds about right.  Again, of course I'd encourage you to check it out, but how about make an appointment and go up there instead of trying to phone in over and over?

 

Again, I understand your frustration of not getting a timely response to your repeated inquiry for a reimbursement, however, I don't see how you feel the need to give a warning to moms-to-be about the Midwife Group as far as discouraging moms to think twice before using them.  I would GLADLY pay out of of pocket if my insurance wouldn't cover it because of the immense benefits I experienced during my last pregnancy.  The first half under OB care wasn't even comparable to the care I had from the midwifes and the awesome birth experience I had.

I appreciate that everyone

I appreciate that everyone has their own opinions, but you all seem to forget that I was ALREADY leaving their practice when my experience there got worse. You are all entitled to your own opinions and I don't begrudge you that, but what I wrote was not me 'lashing out' in anger - it is the TRUTH of what happened (in addition to other negative experiences there that were the cause of my leaving in the first place).

MOMS TO BE BEWARE ??????

 

It is a shame that we only get to hear one side of the story.  I wonder if they even know what you have written about them.  Maybe I should inform them.  I guess with HIPPA out there we won't ever be able to hear what kind of a patient you were and what their opinion of you is.  I guess the TRUTH of what you feel happened is a little far fetched for those of us that had great experiences there to believe.  I too had a refund due to me because my insurance covered more than expected.  When I received my notification from the insurance I called the office and was told that I would have the refund within 2 - 3 weeks, and I did.  Sometimes things just take time.

I also had a question about the two hour sales pitch on midwifery, why did you even become a patient there if it is not a service you were looking for.

 

MOMS-TO-BE BEWARE!!! ??????????

I think bree eastman must have been at a different birth center.  I was born at the birth center in Rincon and am now pregnant and having my baby at the new building, but by the same midwives that took care of my mom.  My sister and her best friend have also had babies at the Midwife Group and Birthcenter, (my sister's born in Rincon, her friend in Savannah) and love everyone at the Birth Center.

Bree, did you go to an orientation day where ultrasounds are done and lab work as well as an initial education class and an office visit?  If so you would have signed paperwork agreeing to the payment terms.  The birth center also gives a discount to their patients for lab work, in conjunction with the lab, that is very reasonable.  Have you had lab work anywhere else, how much was that?  How about an ultrasound? Have you priced those lately?  

I am sure that in your condition, (I know I'm there too) emotions can run high and sometimes things seem worse than they actually are, and one small thing can build in your mind and like a seed it grows, but before you post such an angry comment and lash out, consider that sometimes things are beyond our control and we do the best we can.  I am sure that there have been times that you have done your best for someone and it never seems quite right for them.  Before you lash out at a person, or persons, try to consider that you are not seeing the entire picture and don't post when you are still angry that things weren't how you would have liked them, you don't know what repercussions may arise.

I hope you get all you need from your hospital birth.

Re: Moms-to-be beware!!

I too am sorry you feel you had such a bad experience.  I am writing to let it be known though, that everyone has different reactions to different people and experiences.  I have had 3 of my children at the Midwife Group and Birth Center, two of which were in the Rincon center, and all have been wonderful. 

The midwives care very deeply for their patients and are passionate in what they do.  My experience with Karen was wonderful as well.  She was always very kind and caring when I spoke with her, and was very helpful in getting my insurance to cover my birth at the center.  In fact she helped to negotiate a rate with the insurance so that I had less of a balance to pay out of pocket.

About the reimbursement, I am a bookkeeper by trade and do not know if you have had any experiences with accounts payable and accounts receivable or not, but I can tell you that channels have to be followed.  Most places are required to issue refunds within 90 days, there are also steps that companies put in place to safeguard themselves and their employees in regards to generating and signing checks.  

I had one hospital birth and the experience was one that I will never repeat, and the cost was a very much more than you would think. I hope you find what you are looking for, if the Midwife Group and Birth Center was not for you, but it was the PERFECT place for my birth and I thank everyone there for the wonderful experiences.

 

Re: Moms-to-be beware!!

Anyone looking for a perfect place to give birth with kind and caring people, please do not be put off by one person's opinion and go see the Midwife Group and Birth Center for yourself.  They have an open house one Sunday a month, and I encourage you to go if you are pregnant or considering pregnancy and see all they have to offer.  They have a 20+ year record of providing wonderful care to new and expectant moms and their babies and families.

Valid complaint, but still a great place to have a baby!

I am so sorry that your experience with the Midwife Group and Birth Center was so negative. I must say, however, that I have had exceptionally positive experiences with them. I have had all three of my babies with the Midwife Group, and have found them to be very knowledgeable, caring, and professional. I did not have any billing issues - hopefully you can find some resolution with Nancy or Jill as cb123 suggested.

But I personally would not go anywhere else for a normal, healthy pregnancy and I strongly recommend the Midwife Group and Birth Center to anyone. The midwives fully encourage women to think for themselves, to ask questions, to make their own choices about how they want their pregnancy and childbirth to go. They have strict criteria where necessary for the health/well-being/safety of mother and child, but also allow flexibility in other areas where you might not find the same in a more traditional medical setting.

For example, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy, but the midwives let me proceed with plans for a natural childbirth as we carefully monitored my blood sugar throughout the pregnancy. When I met with the dietician at Memorial she scoffed at the birth center and told me if I were with Memorial I'd be having a c-section for sure. My daughter's birth went perfectly well, without complications, and we were both healthy as could be. (And I didn't have to get cut open - eek!)

Anyway, I sympathize with your frustration over your bad experience, but I'd hate to write off the entire Midwife Group and Birth Center and turn off other moms-to-be from a potentially wonderful pregnancy/ birth experience. It really is a great place to have a baby.

Good luck finding resolution and best wishes for you and your little one!

Valid complaint

Bree--you have a completely valid complaint and it sounds like it was exceptionally frustrating, but I personally, had a very good experience at the Midwife Group and Birth Center. I don't understand their billing methods either but I was having the opposite problem. I was trying to track Karen down to pay my bill. We never received a bill in the mail, and when I spoke to Karen she seemed equally flaky and vague about what we actually owed and when she would have the final number. She was very unprofessional to say the least, but she is giving the practice a bad name. I had my second child there after having my first in a hospital and I had the best experience imaginable. Jill and Nancy were exceptional from start to finish, and I would not have changed a thing. I was ignorant of the benefits of a midwife and a birth center compared to an obstetrician and a hospital, and the education they provide, is just that, an education, and preparation for labor. The products they sell there, as I understand, are sometimes difficult to locate and oftentimes much cheaper than you can find elsewhere, so I think that is why they mention them. I was happy to purchase several of the products they had in stock simply out of convenience.

It is inexcusable that you had to relentlessly pursue Karen, but I would suggest contacting Nancy or Jill directly and questioning their billing practices and complain about Karen. Unfortunately she is misrepresenting the practice, because I was thoroughly impressed by the prenatal care and delivery of my baby. I know you want to warn other pregnant mothers about your experience, but I am here to say that aside from the ineptitude of Karen, the practice is exceptional.

If you do decide to complain to Jill and/or Nancy, I hope they rectify it to your satisfaction and no one else has to deal with a similar hassle.

 

Thanks.

I intend to look into filing a complaint with the BBB. Thanks for your suggestion!