St. Joseph Medical Center announced Tuesday it will close its birthing center on Oct. 31.
In announcing the closure, the hospital cited the declining number of baby deliveries at St. Joseph and the impending exit of OB-GYN physicians from the hospital.
“As more women choose alternative birthing centers and as other nearby hospitals grow their maternity services, maintaining the birthing center at St. Joseph is no longer financially viable,” the hospital’s statement said.
Two OB-GYN physicians employed by the hospital recently announced they are leaving. Another group of OB-GYN physicians with offices at St. Joseph has announced it plans to relocate to Kansas. Together, those doctors were responsible for most of the deliveries at St. Joseph.
“Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have seen a continual, significant downward trend in the number of deliveries at our hospital, and after careful consideration and examination of all the options, the very difficult decision was made to close the birthing center,” St. Joseph CEO Robert Erickson said in a written statement Tuesday.
Erickson said the hospital would continue to invest in cardiovascular, pulmonary, spine and wound care, as well as emergency services, neurosurgery, orthopedics and the treatment of obesity.
“Our team in OB, Mother/Baby and our NICU are second to none in their commitment to our patients, families and each other,” Erickson said. “Our hope is that many will remain with the St. Joseph family in other capacities.”