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York Hospital to close its birthing center amid staffing shortages

The birthing center is slated to close on Sept. 25, the hospital announced Tuesday.

YORK, Maine — York Hospital announced Tuesday it will be closing its inpatient birthing center at the end of this month.

The hospital cited the ongoing nationwide shortage of health care workers as the reason for the upcoming closure, York Hospital said in a news release. Additionally, a decline in birth rates at the center contributed to the decision to close it. Financial considerations were not a factor in this decision, the hospital said.

"The hospital is working closely with colleagues from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham system, to ensure that all York Hospital expectant mothers continue to have access to the care they need as they prepare for delivery," the release stated.

The hospital said all of its patients will continue to receive pre- and postnatal care on its campus, and labor and delivery care will be provided at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire.

Nicole Pendenza, assistant vice president of women and children services at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, said they have been talking with York Hospital for weeks, but just found out Friday that the closure is definite.

"So we did a lot of work over the weekend to figure out [if] we can make that transition for patients to come here and deliver seamlessly with quality and safety," Pendenza said.

York Hospital delivered 250 newborns last year while Wentworth-Douglass delivered 1,500. 

"They are coming to a labor and delivery floor that is really well staffed, we have 24 /7 OB/GYN providers," Pendenza added. 

"Expectant mothers will of course have the option of delivering at any hospital of their choosing," the hospital added. "The decision is limited in scope to only labor and delivery services. York Hospital will continue to provide the same gynecological care on its main campus, as well as pediatric services on its York and Wells campuses."

York Hospital said no other departments or services are being considered for closure at this time.

"We’re keenly aware of the impact that this difficult decision will have on our patients and our community. Multiple steps were taken to keep the department open, but unfortunately, worker shortages have left us unable to provide the level of consistent, high-quality care our patients deserve," York Hospital President and CEO Dr. Patrick Taylor said in the release. "I’m grateful to the team at Wentworth-Douglass for their assistance in ensuring the safety and uninterrupted care of our patients, and I’m confident they will continue to provide a higher level of care for both our mothers and babies."

All current obstetric patients with York Hospital can contact OB/GYN, Surgical & Midwifery Associates of York Hospital with any questions or concerns at 207-351-3455.

The birthing center is slated to close on Sept. 25.

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital said it will have open houses next week for expecting mothers to see its facility and meet with providers.

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