Mount Hood maternity center continues to divert patients as authorities question safety

Gresham, Ore.-based Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center is continuing to divert patients away from its labor and delivery services even as the Oregon Health Authority questions the safety of doing so.

While parent company Legacy Health says it is safer for maternity patients to be diverted to other system locations given the lack of staff at Mount Hood, OHA claims shifting pregnant women to the Portland-based Legacy Emanuel location could force some patients to give birth in that facility's emergency room where there may be inadequately trained staff. Such concerns were one of the primary reasons OHA refused to grant Legacy's request for a waiver to close the Mount Hood center.

The planned closure could also worsen health inequities given that the Mount Hood center has historically serviced a disproportionate percentage of patients who have limited English proficiency and who don't typically have prenatal visits, OHA said.

"We appreciate the thorough and focused approach the Oregon Health Authority is bringing to this important process, and we look forward to continuing this conversation with them," Legacy Health said in a statement. "Our top priority remains ensuring the safety and well-being of our patients and our staff and physicians."

OHA has also opened a separate but linked investigation into the original decision to close the Mount Hood center without a waiver. Legacy Health declined further comment on that issue.

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