U Missouri Health opens 160-bed birthing center, children's hospital

University of Missouri (Columbia) Health Care opened a new 160-bed children’s hospital and birthing center, the system announced May 22.

The opening of the new healthcare facility comes at a critical time when 54% of rural hospitals in Missouri are currently operating without any birthing center or OBGYN care, according to NPR. In the last decade alone, seven birthing centers across the state have shut down, Fox 2 News reported in 2023.

The new site was designed with "room to grow" in mind, according to MU Health's news release.

The new center has also been designated as a "Baby Friendly hospital" which is awarded by a national accrediting body to birthing centers that meet specific criteria.  

"We are very proud of our international designation as a Baby Friendly hospital — and we have taken great care to design rooms and spaces that help keep mom and baby together as much as possible," Jean Goodman, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology stated in the news release.

All departments and staff are expected to be fully operational by June 14 in the new facility.

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