17 maternity service closures in 2024

On the heels of financial pressures and workforce shortages experienced last year, many hospitals and health systems are continuing to face maternity service closures in 2024.

In rural areas, more than 200 hospitals across the U.S. have been forced to shut down delivery services in the last decade, while still expected to perform deliveries for nearly 1 in 10 babies across the country. 

In fact, in a recent Becker's poll that asked healthcare leaders how concerned their hospital, health system or practice is with the rate of maternity cuts and closures, 51% of the 378 respondents said "very concerned" (Becker's has no insights on respondents). 

Becker's has reported on the following hospitals ending maternity care in 2024, along with closure plan and transfer statuses:

1. Mercy Health-Fairfield (Ohio) Hospital, part of Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health, is shutting down its labor and delivery services and transferring them to Mercy Health-Anderson Hospital and Mercy Health-West Hospital, both in Cincinnati, effective May 1.

2. Eau Claire, Wis.-based Sacred Heart Hospital, part of Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System, closed on March 22. The hospital was delivering babies as of Jan. 3, according to a post on its Facebook page

3. The obstetrics services at Adventist Health Tulare (Calif.) are pausing on June 6 for an unspecified amount of time, the Valley Voice reported March 11. The pause could affect 23 employees. The hospital's emergency room will continue treating obstetrics patients and delivering babies on an emergency basis. 

4. Scripps Mercy Chula Vista (Calif.) hospital, part of San Diego-based Scripps Health, is transferring its obstetrics care services and Rady Children's neonatal intensive care unit to its Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego campus. The change in services will affect around 135 employees at Scripps Mercy Chula Vista. Scripps is making efforts to find other career opportunities within Scripps and with its community partners for those affected.

5. Vineland, N.J.-based Inspira Health is shuttering the midwifery program at its Inspira Medical Center Elmer (N.J.) location in mid- to late April after assessing its maternity care's current landscape and internal operations.

6.  Caldwell, Idaho-based West Valley Medical Center, part of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, is closing its labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care unit by April 1. The decision comes amid a decline in birth rates and challenges in securing consistent coverage. The hospital hopes to retain as many employees as possible by offering new career opportunities in other care areas.

7. Froedtert Menomonee Falls (Wis.) Hospital is shutting down its birth center and moving services to Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Froedtert Hospital and Froedtert West Bend (Wis.) Hospital by July 1 to continue meeting the growing community needs. No positions are expected to be eliminated due to the care shift.

8. Miami-based North Shore Medical Center, part of Dallas-based Steward Health Care, has closed patient care in its obstetrics unit, effective Feb. 14, a few weeks earlier than its initial March 10 planned closure. The cuts include the hospital's neonatal unit as well as labor and delivery. Staffing level challenges and overall business plan adjustments were part of the early closure decision, a spokesperson for North Shore Medical Center said in a statement shared with Becker's

9. Adventist Health Simi Valley (Calif.) hospital, part of Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health, is ending its labor and delivery services and closing its neonatal intensive care unit May 8. The cuts stem from high costs, labor shortages, inflation and a 25% decline in birth rate at the hospital, according to an Adventist Health news release shared with Becker's.

10. St. Marys, Pa.-based Penn Highlands Elk, part of DuBois, Pa.-based Penn Highlands Healthcare, is closing its labor and delivery services on May 1 and transferring services to the Maternal and Child Center at Penn Highlands DuBois. "This transition only impacts labor and delivery; all other prenatal and postpartum care and gynecological services will continue to be offered at Penn Highlands Elk," Trina Abla, DO, chief medical officer of Penn Highlands Healthcare, said in a Penn Highlands Healthcare news release.

11. Mayo Clinic Health System's New Prague, Minn., site reportedly closed its labor and delivery services on Feb. 9 due to low birth volumes and physician shortages. The Minnesota Department of Health held a public hearing Feb. 6 regarding the closure.

12. Essentia Health-Fosston (Minn.) hospital shuttered its labor and delivery services, prompting a Minnesota Department of Health public hearing on Jan. 30. High-risk pregnancy growth, a decrease in birth volumes, and provider recruitment challenges were all factors in the hospital's decision. Fosston's city leaders are aiming to reclaim the hospital to keep services from closing.

13. Stafford, Conn.-based Johnson Memorial Hospital, run by Trinity Health of New England, has been denied its labor and delivery unit proposed closure. The denial from Connecticut's office of health strategy points to an adverse effect on the less wealthy, not saving patients money and a reduction of care access. 

14. Smithtown, N.Y.-based St. Catherine of Siena Hospital reportedly closed its maternity ward on Feb. 1. The hospital, part of Rockville Centre, N.Y.-based Catholic Health, announced the ward's closure in late December. 

15. A closure plan has been submitted for Troy, N.Y.-based Samaritan Hospital's Burdett Birth Center, part of Albany, N.Y.-based St. Peter's Health Partners, to the state Department of Health. The plan comes after St. Peter's received a cease-and-desist letter from the health department that ordered against closing beds or services at the center. 

16. Troy, Ohio-based Upper Valley Medical Center, part of Dayton, Ohio-based Premier Health, shut down its labor and delivery unit on Feb. 29. A declined birth rate and physician recruitment challenges were factors in the center's unit closure decision. 

17. Blacksburg, Va.-based LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, part of HCA Virginia Health System, will close its obstetrics services temporarily, effective April 1. Recruitment challenges for full-time OB-GYNs was listed as the hospital's deciding factor.

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