Twin Cities hospital plans to open birth center by 2020

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Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., is seeking approval from the medical center's board of directors to build a birth center on its campus after two Twin Cities hospitals recently closed maternity units, according to a Star Tribune report.

"Regions is replacing its existing birth center to update the facility, expand the size of the birthing suites and increasingly meet the needs of today's moms and families," the hospital said in a statement Dec. 28. "This project is currently in the planning and design phase and will be presented to the Regions Hospital board for their consideration in early 2018."

St. Paul-based St. Joseph's Hospital closed its maternity unit in September 2017 and Minneapolis-based Allina Health announced it would transfer maternity care from Fridley, Minn.-based Unity Hospital to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minn., in 2015.

"We probably have the oldest OB unit in town," Megan Remark, CEO of Regions Hospital, told the Star Tribune. "Given the market demands and the consumer demands and preferences for OB, we want those rooms to be bigger."

Regions Hospital's birth center proposal is separate from the 450-bed facility's plan to add 100 beds and 950 full-time employees by 2040. The cost of the birth center has not yet been set, according to hospital officials. Construction would begin this spring, with plans to finish the facility by 2020.

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