Maine hospital makes 'difficult but necessary decision' to close maternity unit

Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare will close the maternity unit at Rumford Hospital on March 31, ABC affiliate WMTW reported Feb. 2.

The health system attributed the closure to a slowing birth rate, shortage of obstetricians willing to work in the area and the need for a more consistent women's health plan in the region.

"This was an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to make," Steve Littleson, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare said in a news release. "The Rumford Hospital maternity service has a long and proud history, but given the staffing challenges and changing population, turning the page is in the best interests of our patients."

No jobs will be lost as a result of the closure, which mirrors a trend happening to maternity units in rural areas across the country. 

Between 2006 and 2020, more than 400 rural maternity units closed in the U.S., according to the health system.

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