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Lewiston's St Mary's hospital to close maternity services by end of July

Senior leadership at Central Maine Medical Center said preparations are underway to accommodate higher patient volume for women’s health services at CMMC.

LEWISTON, Maine — St. Mary’s Health System officials announced Wednesday that the maternity and women’s health service line at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center would be closing at the end of July. 

It was recommended and approved by the boards of St. Mary’s Health System and parent company Covenant Health because of continuously declining birth rates, according to a release from the St. Mary's Health System. 

Overall, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Robert Long told NEWS CENTER Maine 12,001 babies were born in Maine in 2021, a 4 percent increase compared to 2020

Wednesday's release, however, states St. Mary’s and Central Maine Medical Center have seen a steady decline in birth rates at their hospitals since 2017 and had a combined total of 1,044 births in 2021. St. Mary's officials said each hospital regularly had over 1,000 births per year in years past.

“The decision to close our maternity services was difficult and emotional, but is in the best interest of our community,” St. Mary’s President Steve Jorgensen said in Wednesday's release. “Our staff in the Women’s Health Center are dedicated and caring professionals that will continue to provide exemplary medical services in our communities if they so choose. We are committed to retain and retrain any staff who wish to remain at St. Mary’s after the Women’s Center closes and CMMC will hire any staff that wants to stay with the women’s health program.”

Senior leadership at Central Maine Medical Center said preparations are underway to accommodate higher patient volume for women’s health services at CMMC.

“We extend a warm welcome to all patients from St. Mary’s who need OB/maternity and other women’s health services,” Steve Littleson, DBA, FACHE, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, said in a release from CMMC. “Like our healthcare partners at St. Mary’s, for 130 years, CMMC has been providing care in an inclusive and welcoming environment.”

CMMC is currently working with St. Mary’s to create a seamless transition of OB/GYN services to CMMC. The effort will include working to transition the doctors and midwives at St. Mary’s practice into Central Maine Healthcare's practice, according to the hospital's release.

St. Mary’s said it would be coordinating the transfer of patients and records over the next few months as the transition moves forward.

State officials with the Department of Health and Human Service have been notified of St. Mary's decision, the release states.

“With the availability of a Level 2 neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) and LifeFlight services in our community at CMMC, we felt that our communities will be well-served to care for all patients, including in the case of high-risk pregnancies," Jorgensen said. "We will work together with our parent organization, Covenant Health, CMMC or any other health care provider of choice, to ensure a smooth and orderly transition for our patients.”

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