CEO explains why New Hampshire hospital is ending labor, delivery services

Rochester, N.H.-based Frisbie Memorial Hospital CEO Tim Jones on Aug. 16 detailed for the City Council a new plan to deal with declining birth services, according to the Foster's Daily Democrat.

According to the plan announced Aug. 8, Frisbie Memorial patients seeking delivery services will be sent to Portsmouth (N.H.) Regional Hospital. 

Mr. Jones discussed the hospital's decision to discontinue birth services and the potential intervention by the New Hampshire attorney general's staff based on that decision potentially violating the agreement when Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare took over the hospital in March 2020, the Foster's Daily Democrat reported Aug. 18. 

Attorney General John Formella said Frisbie had agreed in February 2020 to continue labor and delivery services for at least five years after it was acquired by HCA. The agreement requires the hospital to "show proof of extreme financial loss/disadvantage" to justify terminating labor and delivery services. 

Mr. Jones, however, said Frisbie is having trouble recruiting doctors, in part because of a reduced number of births. 

"In 2017, we had 350 births," he said, according to the Foster's Daily Democrat. "The volume has steadily declined and this year, it's unlikely we will see 100. In July, we had two." 

Mr. Jones noted that discontinuing birthing services was a difficult decision and said the hospital will contract prenatal, postnatal, gynecological and surgical services with Portsmouth, N.H.-based Harbor Women's Health.

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