Connecticut approves labor, delivery closure at Hartford HealthCare hospital

Windham (Conn.) Hospital, part of Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare, received approval from the state to end its labor and delivery services after a three-year process, the Connecticut Mirror reported Dec. 1.

Under the terms of the settlement reached with the state, the hospital must hire an independent third party to assess the needs for and feasibility of establishing a birthing center. If the study finds it necessary and possible, the hospital must operate the center or find a provider to do so. The hospital must also provide emergency and nonemergency transportation for birthing patients to and from the hospital for pre-delivery exams, labor and delivery and post-delivery visits, as well as continue to provide prenatal and postpartum care.

"Windham Hospital's decision to end childbirth services has always been about providing safe and sustainable care for women and babies," Donna Handley, BSN, Hartford HealthCare east region president, told the Mirror. "The state Office of Health Strategy's settlement with the hospital underscores our commitment to a safe childbirth experience while acknowledging the existing and enhanced pre- and post-natal programs and services we continue to provide."

This is the first of three applications under consideration by the state to close labor and delivery units at rural hospitals: Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford and Sharon Hospital also have pending applications.

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