RUMFORD, Maine — Rumford Hospital announced Thursday it will be closing its maternity unit in late March.
The rural hospital has been delivering babies in its maternity unit since 1926, a news release from Rumford Hospital said.
Part of Central Maine Healthcare, the hospital cited in its news release multiple factors that led to the decision.
Issues include declining birth rates, a "severe and persistent" obstetrician shortage in the area, and the "pressing need for a more consistent plan for women’s healthcare in the Rumford region," according to the release.
The hospital said the decision reflects a trend being seen nationwide, as over 400 rural maternity units closed in the U.S. between 2006 and 2020.
"This was an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to make," Steve Littleson, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare and interim president at Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital, said in the release. "The Rumford Hospital maternity service has a long and proud history, but given the staffing challenges and changing population, turning the page is in the best interests of our patients."
While Rumford Hospital is closing down its maternity unit, it will still offer healthcare services for women through family practitioners and a certified midwife, "who will provide prenatal care for expectant mothers who make appointments at Rumford Hospital," the release said.
Expectant mothers in the region, however, will still be able to deliver at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Rumford Hospital said.
"This will certainly mark the end of an era here in the Rumford area,” Stephany Jacques, RN, MSN, and vice president of nursing and patient care services, said. “So many local people were born at Rumford Hospital, as were their parents and grandparents. We have a rich history of caring for women and families in our community.”
The hospital added no jobs will be lost among Central Maine Healthcare workers amid this closure.
Rumford Hospital's maternity unit is set to close on March 31.
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