Nuvance hospital isn't allowed to close labor and delivery unit

Danbury, Conn.-based Nuvance Health's request to close the Sharon Hospital labor and delivery unit was denied, according to the Hartford Courant.

The Office of Health Strategy in Connecticut said ending labor and delivery services at Litchfield County, Conn.-based Sharon Hospital could have a negative impact on the region in a proposed final rule Aug. 28. The proposed final decision acknowledged Sharon Hospital's financial losses, but also cited Nuvance's revenue gains and net assets of $1.7 billion for 2021 as a reason to deny the system's request, according to a News Times report. Nuvance stands to gain $3 million per year if the labor and delivery services are closed, according to the report.

Nuvance has 21 days to appeal the decision and request an oral argument.

The Connecticut Hospital Association issued a statement in support of Nuvance.

"It's concerning that OHS's proposed final decision disregards declining birth rates, recruitment challenges, and financial pressures that pose significant challenges to maintaining birthing services. Closing a birthing unit is not a decision that is made lightly. Hospitals want nothing more than to provide access to the highest quality care to every patient in every situation. But staffing shortages, decreases in births, and skyrocketing temporary worker costs are serious challenges," the statement reads.

Two other rural hospitals in Connecticut are seeking permission to close labor and delivery units as well: Hartford HealthCare's Windham Hospital in Willimantic, Conn., and Johnson Memorial in Stafford, which is owned by Trinity Health of New England.

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