Published May 19, 1997
Volume 5, Number 5

Matria Helps Mothers Deliver on Time
Company Offers an Alternative to Long-Term Hospitalization
Ricks Mattson, regional vice president of Matria, oversees the company's operations
for all offices west of Salt Lake City.

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor

It wasn't long ago that pregnant women at risk of going into labor prematurely would have to be hospitalized for as long as six weeks to receive therapies to suppress labor, in an effort to avoid having a premature baby. With the medical industry growing more cost conscious, a search for alternatives, including home health care, began.

"The initial clinical research on home obstetric care was done at Children's Hospital in San Francisco in 1984," says Ricks Mattson, regional vice president of Matria Healthcare. "No one had ever done OB home health before then.  The thought was if you're in premature labor, you just had to remain in the hospital long term. It was a novel idea when it first came about."

For the past 12 years, however, obstetric home health care has been a reality. Matria is the leading provider of home obstetrical services, specializing in supporting high risk pregnancies where there is a risk of premature delivery. 

"Classic examples of high risk pregnancies are multiple gestations, which would be twins or triplets; if the mother had a previous pre-term delivery; and patients that have had any kind of uterine surgery," explains Mattson. 

Matria both provides services to patientsthey are the largest employer of obstetrical nurses in the United Statesand manufactures a monitoring device used to track the frequency of uterine contractions during the pregnancy. 

Patients wear the monitoring device, which is about the size of a belt buckle, over their abdomens. Once a day, they call Matria's Hacienda office and send their clinical data over the phone where a team of nurses evaluates the information.

"In essence, we're kind of a warning system for the obstetrician," he says. "If our monitors detect an increase in the level of uterine contractions that the patient is experiencingand normally the premature labor contractions are not the type of aggressive contractions you might associate with term labor that's when we contact the obstetrician who prescribed our services initially."

At any given time, 80 to 85 pregnancies are being managed through the Hacienda office. 

"We like this location because of the geographic proximity to not only the Bay Area markets but also to Modesto and the San Joaquin Valley," adds Mattson. The company has 55 offices nationwide. 


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