WINNEMUCCA—Sandy Rose has always considered it her job to make sure birth records are filled out accurately and completely. She found out recently, however, that not all other facilities take their jobs as seriously.
Humboldt General Hospital was recently honored for establishing 100 percent of paternities for unwed mothers. Karen McLain, MSW, a social services manager with the State of Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, thanked Humboldt General in a recent letter.
“Children in Nevada deserve paternity established,” she said, noting that paternity information will benefit children emotionally, psychologically and financially as they grow older. “Thank you for the work you are doing daily in making this happen.”
The state’s Division of Welfare and Supportive Services ranked all 22 of the state’s OB units and found that paternity establishment ranged from 100 percent (HGH) to 33 percent (Las Vegas’ Mountain View Hospital).
Second on the list, after Humboldt General Hospital, was Las Vegas’ Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center with 87 percent.
McLain said research shows the best time to establish voluntary paternity is at the time a child is born. The likelihood of establishing paternity declines with time as parents fail to keep the relationship together.
“Sandy is to thank for this,” said Health Information Office Manager Crystal Mattson of the honor. “She’s made it a priority to get correct information and pass it along to the state.”
Mattson said there is a short “window of opportunity” during which paternity information can most receptively be accessed. “Once people leave the hospital, that opportunity fades. That’s why it’s so important for Sandy to gather that information while our patients are still here.”
Rose, a file clerk/chart analyst with the department, said her protocols are not unusual for Humboldt General Hospital. “We just make sure we get the information,” she said. “We go one on one, we chase them down; we do that extra calling, even if it’s out of state.”
She added with a grin, “If you can’t do that, then that’s just laziness.”
Rose said the hospital’s obstetrics department deserves a great deal of credit for helping to distribute and gather birth information forms, which include paternity papers. “They are always so helpful,” she said.
She also credited her department where an atmosphere of “correct information at all costs” prevails.
Rose, who is nearing her 10th anniversary with Humboldt General Hospital, said she was surprised by the kudos from the state—surprised but grateful.
“We were just doing our jobs,” she said. “But I guess our hospital does go beyond, and it was nice to be recognized.”