Officials at Loretto Hospital held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday, Sept. 10 to open its new women’s health center located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 645 S. Central Ave.

The new center will provide prenatal, gynecological and obstetric care for women. But the newly minted center is no sterile community health clinic. Women won’t find harsh florescent lights or hard plastic chairs.

Instead, women will be greeted by soft lights and comfortable loveseats in the waiting room or, as staff call it, the living room. Patients can get private medical consultation in the “serenity” room, which is decked out in muted grays and mahogany-hued furnishings.

Dr. Connie Moreland, the hospital’s director of women’s health services, wanted to add some style to Loretto’s center since some community-based health centers don’t offer a welcoming environment where patients feel respected.

“They need bling-age,” said Moreland, a gynecologist and obstetrician. “They want something that speaks to them.”

The center’s design avoids what women don’t want in a medical facility, she said, like being treated as a number or as if their privacy doesn’t matter.

“The whole concept was to create a place for women that they can feel very much like they’re Michelle Obama, that they are the cream of the crop and that we want them here,” Moreland said.

To make the center more personal, inspirational words were pained on the exam room doors. Etched in black calligraphy are the words “faith,” “love,” “renewal” and “serenity.”

“The words symbolize what we want to give to women in this clinic,” said Rosalinda Novoa, a patient care technician. “We want women to feel comfortable enough to share. We want them to feel like we are family.”

State Sen. Camille Lilly, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said she hopes the new center breaks negative perceptions about community hospitals.

“It is awesome to see women have their own space, because we have our own issues,” said Lilly, who added the facility has been upgraded to meet “the needs of the people in a quality compassionate environment.”

The new clinic is just one of many expansion projects occurring at the hospital. “Everyone talks about Loretto, ‘Are they really going to be around?'” Loretto Hospital President and CEO Steven Drucker said. “Look at all the construction that has been going on. We are here for the long haul. We will be growing our programs.”

Among the growing program are the hospital’s expanding ambulatory or outpatient services. New services include diabetes care and in the near future cataract surgery.

Starting Oct. 6, the outpatient service will expand its hours. Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Loretto Hospital will have weekend clinic hours with some walk-in availability. Also the asthma clinic will open on weekends a couple times a month. Weekend clinic appointments:
call 77-854-5475.