A three-tier model for the delivery of rural obstetrical care using a nurse midwife and family physician copractice

J Rural Health. 1992 Fall;8(4):283-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.1992.tb00369.x.


To meet the needs of a large indigent rural population, a rural regional referral hospital in northeastern Kentucky developed a maternity program that utilizes nurse midwives and family physicians as the primary medical providers with support from obstetricians. After five years, the number of deliveries at the hospital has increased almost 30 percent, and the maternity center is now responsible for more than 70 percent of all deliveries at the medical center. Accounting for the large increase in the number of deliveries is an increasing number of women from surrounding areas who now utilize the maternity center and the hospital for their obstetric care. During the same time, there has been a corresponding decrease in deliveries to women with no prior prenatal care and a shift toward obtaining earlier prenatal care in the hospital service population. Results of the study suggest that combining the skills of nurse midwives and family physicians with surgical backup provided by a consulting obstetrician is an effective means of meeting the health care needs of an indigent, underserved rural population.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 100 to 299
  • Hospitals, Rural / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Rural / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Kentucky
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Medical Indigency
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nurse Midwives / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Regional Medical Programs / organization & administration*
  • Workforce