Beth Israel Lahey hospital's freestanding birth center to close

Beverly (Mass.) Hospital, part of Cambridge, Mass.-based Beth Israel Lahey Health, will permanently close its freestanding birth center Sept. 9 because of staffing shortages, The Salem News reported May 13.

North Shore Birth Center is staffed by midwives and gives women the option of childbirth care without medication.

The hospital also had to temporarily stop taking in new birth center patients in March because of staffing problems.

"The health and safety of our patients is at the heart of everything we do," Mark Gendreau, MD, Beverly Hospital's chief medical officer, said in a letter to patients, according to the report. "Based on ongoing staffing issues . . . we have determined that it is no longer possible to sustainably operate this program in the long term."

Two of the hospital's affiliated physician groups provide midwifery, and the hospital is exploring ways to incorporate some of the birth center's practices, according to the report.

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