By Tom Momberg
Dr. Jill Rabin, recognized for her extraordinary drive in helping to improve North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Prenatal Care Assistance Program, said outreach and education have been essential measures in empowering women to take a proactive role in their health.
Rabin has been in her practice since 1985. She now serves as co-chief of LIJ’s Division of Ambulatory Care, Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services.
LIJ began to offer full comprehensive prenatal care to the greater community in the mid-’90s in response to overwhelming infant mortality rates and birth defects in the state.
“The state saw the same thing many (obstetrics and gynecology practitioners) did, and what the state and federal governments now realize is that every dollar spent on proper medical care before and during pregnancy results in saving so much more in long-term health care expenses,” Rabin said.
Once New York awarded LIJ its Prenatal Care Assistance Program, or PCAP, she worked with her team to build on it over the last two decades.
She and her team looked at 300 pregnancies managed by the Ambulatory Care Unit, which administers PCAP, compared with 300 pregnancies managed in the OB/GYN Department’s private practice.
“The outcomes were the same in both places,” Rabin said. “And that’s really because women were being treated by the same providers, and in the ACU, by a support network (of specialists in) nutrition, periodontics, diabetics, therapeutics and physical therapy.”
She said that a large support network is necessary for putting underserved patients on par with LIJ’s private practice.
The state and federal grants that fund PCAP were expanded in 2000 with additional nonprofit support, letting Rabin and her medical staff do more community outreach and education.
PCAP offers contraceptives and adolescent programs; administers Pap smears, mammograms and colonoscopies; and provides dental care and postpartum follow-up for babies and mothers. Between a state- and federal-funded family planning and cancer services program, Rabin was able to establish care throughout women’s reproductive lives.
“We’re now able to take care of people all the way from maternal age up through the end of life,” said Rabin, which is a fully integrated approach to empowering individuals about their health.
The medical interventions offered by LIJ’s PCAP are available to underinsured and uninsured women, regardless of immigration status. But Rabin said that due to the outreach work, which helps women and families navigate their way to insurance coverage, only about 5 percent of those PCAP serves are uninsured.
Rabin was reluctant, yet grateful, to take credit.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives,” Rabin said. “It’s nice to be honored and it’s flattering. But, of course, it’s a team effort.”