In less than a year, doctors at VHC Health in Arlington, Virginia, planned, built, and opened the D.C. area’s only one-stop health care center for women.
The goal of the new Charlotte Stump Benjamin Center is to make appointments and follow-ups easy and convenient for women, said Dr. Kelly Orzechowski, the center’s chief medical officer.
“A lot of times women are so busy caring for other loved ones that they don’t actually prioritize their own health care,” she said. “So, they’re more likely to delay a mammogram and that can affect the quality of life and health care, if things are picked up late.”
Health care centers for women only are a national trend that has reached the D.C. area.
The center, located on the fifth floor of VHC Health’s outpatient pavilion, is the first of its kind in the area that offers coordinated medical services for women only in one location, Orzechowski told WTOP.
During the pandemic, more than a dozen female doctors who represented a range of disciplines were able to craft their vision of a center that caters to women.
The team took the idea to the hospital’s leadership in October last year and got swift approval.
“We were really looking at how we get care as physicians and how we deliver care to our patients,” she said. “And we saw a lot of gaps. It made us communicate with each other and say, ‘How can we do this better?'”
Orzechowski said the center also features small details that ease anxiety during exams and encourage women to continue coming back.
“We have gowns that actually fully cover you instead of the paper drapes that fall down when your doctor is walking in the room,” she said. “I can’t tell you how often I care for patients who say that they have felt dismissed and not heard.”