I want to provide more details regarding the recent announcement about discontinuing inpatient and outpatient obstetrical services.– Interim CEO John Jacobson
First, this was not an easy decision for our hospital and county leaders. We’ve been proud to share in the joy of welcoming babies with their moms and families over the years.
Unfortunately, we’ve experienced declining OB volumes for the past decade. We made this very difficult decision based on the fact that nearly 50% of OB patients living in zip codes closest to our hospital chose to deliver at other birth centers outside of our immediate community. On average, our unit is delivering about three babies per week, yet it must be staffed around the clock, seven days a week. These volume levels are simply not in line with guidelines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and other licensing organizations, for professionals to maintain clinical competency.
While many rural hospitals are closing across the country, the Martin County Commission has worked with the hospital to help ensure vital services continue to be available for residents. And, as a rural healthcare provider with limited resources, we decided to focus on services where patient need now requires us to provide increased access. Two of these areas are behavioral health and cardiology services.
We appreciate the comments and thoughtful questions we have received since last week. This represents a big change for us, but we remain committed to ensuring our hospital is well-poised to serve the community today and in the future.