More rural hospitals closing maternity wards

Astria Toppenish (Wash.) Hospital is one of many rural hospitals closing labor and delivery care due to costs, creating maternity deserts in areas that need care most, The New York Times reported Feb. 26.

From 2015 to 2019, at least 89 obstetric units closed in rural hospitals across the country, according to the report. By 2020, about half of rural community hospitals did not provide obstetrics care, according to the American Hospital Association. However, maternity death rates continue to rise, according to the report.

Maternity program closures seem to be accelerating mostly in rural areas where population has decreased and births dwindled. A study cited by the Times found 20 percent of hospital administrators did not expect to provide labor and delivery services in five years' time.

"Toppenish is the canary in the coal mine," Cassie Sauer, president and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, told the Times.

Read the full report here.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars