Low birth numbers, lack of staff force Idaho system to end maternal inpatient services

Another Idaho-based health system is opting to close its maternal inpatient labor and delivery services.

Emmett-based Valor Health will close those services June 1 and instead focus on pre- and postnatal care for women. The move follows the decision March 17 by Sandpoint-based Bonner General Hospital to stop delivering babies.

While Bonner General cited financial difficulties and restrictive abortion laws in Idaho as among the reasons for closing such services, Valor Health said in a March 29 news release that a combination of falling births and staffing shortages culminated in its decision. Valor will discontinue maternal inpatient and delivery services as of June 1.

"This change is one step in a strategy to transform an inpatient-focused model of care into an accessible and affordable healthcare system built on a foundation of high-quality, convenient primary care," CEO Brad Turpen said in the release.

The health system has a five-year strategic plan focusing on primary care to boost its financial sustainability, Mr. Turpen told the Emmett Messenger Index on March 21.

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