Connecticut hospital denied initial request to close labor and delivery unit

Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare's Windham Hospital has been denied its initial request to close the site's labor and delivery unit, Connecticut Public reported July 7.

Connecticut's Office of Health Strategy declined the request, citing that closure of the unit would "exacerbate existing health inequities, diminish access, increase costs, and limit patient choice in the region." 

Hartford HealthCare has 21 days to appeal and request an oral argument with the OHS, according to Connecticut Public

A spokesperson for Hartford HealthCare stated the company is disappointed with the denial and is looking into an appeal. 

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said he is pleased with OHS' decision, having submitted concerns of his own regarding the proposal. 

"This is the right decision for the health and safety of mothers and babies in the Windham area." Mr. Tong said. "Asking parents to travel another 25-45 minutes to undergo a major medical procedure at a different hospital would have created an additional burden and risk."

Windham Hospital has ceased labor and delivery services since June 2020. In September 2020, it filed the application to permanently close the unit, citing a concern for patient safety and lack of proper obstetrician staffing. 

In a statement following the denial on July 6, Windham Hospital said the number of births has declined to about two per week and that it is "impossible" to provide safe childbirth due to the lack of staffing at this time. 

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