A specialized treatment center for children in Bowling Green will no longer be accepting patients due to a lack of staff.
Dr. Sherri Thomas has nearly 600 patients in her facility, the Center for Child Development at the Wood County Hospital, which opened in fall 2011. The center deals with diagnosis, treatment and follow-up to children who have developmental and behavioral issues. It is funded by the Wood County Hospital, with additional support from the Wood County Hospital Foundation and United Way of Greater Toledo.
The center sees children who have the following developmental and behavioral conditions:
Early recognition of problems can often get a child into therapies sooner and help families identify the areas needing medical expertise. There are only two full-time and one part-time board-certified developmental pediatricians in northwest Ohio, and 33 in the entire state. Other centers in Ohio are located in Cincinnati, Columbus, Akron, Cleveland, and Dayton.
On an average day, a typical pediatrician's office can see between 25 and 30 patients. However, Thomas is only able to see eight or nine per day because she is the only doctor available, able to conduct exams that can last 90 minutes. Thomas says there is not necessarily an increase in patients with problems, but rather a lack of doctors available to help.
As a result, the center will stop accepting patient referrals for 2013. Officials have announced they will only be taking four referrals per week to meet the demand, which is down from 20. There will also be set limitations for 2014.
"We're at capacity for certain," said Thomas. "However, we are already fully scheduled 'til December. Any new calls we get we would be looking at evaluations next late winter, early spring."
There are already 130 children scheduled through December. The center is currently exploring ways to expand capabilities.
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