Throughout her career, Dr. Tracy Bohn Hemmerdinger has been dedicated to enhancing care in the communities she serves. She recently joined the team at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital as chief of obstetrics and gynecology, where she has seen an increase in the number of births at the hospital since it opened its newly renovated Maternal & Newborn Care Unit in January 2021. Dr. Hemmerdinger believes this is a result of women wanting a more personal birthing experience, as well as the influx of people who moved from New York City to the suburbs during the pandemic.
Are you seeing any trends at the Maternal & Newborn Care Unit?
We have found that patients are increasingly looking for the safe and calming environments we offer, especially since the onset of the pandemic. From the start, the Maternal & Newborn Care Unit was designed so that families would have everything they need within their own private space – from large bathrooms and showers, to a comfortable sleeper bed for partners.
Additionally, many women want to have the option for midwife delivery, while also having a doctor and advanced equipment and technologies in-house in case support is needed. This is something we provide and in fact, we just hired two new midwives so we are excited to expand that team.
How has the pandemic changed the way people give birth?
The pandemic allowed us to take a step back and focus on all of the positive aspects of NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital’s Maternal & Newborn Care Unit. We offer single-bedded rooms in a peaceful setting so that a mother and partner can bond with their baby, shorter hospital stays so that new parents can return to the comfort of their home, and telemedicine for certain prenatal visits as well as for post-birth check-ins.
The rise of telemedicine during COVID has also been beneficial because it has allowed us to see patients virtually for post-birth check-ins in the weeks after delivery. Of course, if we uncover something that needs a visit and for the postpartum checkup, patients will come in but telemedicine has helped improve the patient experience by helping people avoid a trip to the doctor’s office and focus on other priorities in their lives. We also utilize telehealth for some of the visits during pregnancy, especially if the purpose of the appointment is to go over lab or test results.
What should women consider when picking an OB-GYN?
There are a few factors, one of which is location. NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital offers prenatal care close to home and offers excellent, high-level obstetrical care in a comfortable and private setting.
Another factor to consider is the breadth of services offered within the hospital. For example, we offer advanced robotic surgery for hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures so patients don’t have to go somewhere else to have these done. This has been helpful for our patients – especially those who relocated from New York City during the pandemic – as they don’t have to go into the city for surgery. We also have a medical office in Putnam County located in Cold Spring, which offers OB-GYN services along with a wide range of other medical specialties.
Patients seem to gravitate toward our newly renovated unit, which includes amenities like a soaking tub. In addition to having midwives on staff for patients who want a more natural experience, we also welcome doulas.
What is your vision for Women’s Health services for the next year?
One of my goals is to increase access to care for all patients throughout Westchester, Putnam and lower Dutchess counties. We have already made impressive progress in our plans to hire additional extremely qualified physicians in 2022, and we plan to continue adding leading specialists to our team. In fact, this spring, we will welcome a new patient care director to the labor floor. We also have hired a new OB-GYN who is set to start late summer, expanding the expertise of our women’s health team.
What made you interested in pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology?
I’ve always been interested in women’s health care and women’s issues. I love the variety that my job grants me. On any given day, I may see a woman who is newly pregnant, or one just entering menopause, while in the same day also helping another give birth. In essence, I enjoy being involved in the totality of a woman’s health care journey, and am dedicated to providing safe, equitable and comfortable health care throughout a woman’s life.