UMass Memorial maternity ward closure complicated by state

The Massachusetts Department of Health determined that UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital Leominster (Ma.) Campus' maternity ward is an essential service, complicating plans from the system to close it. 

The hospital planned to close the maternity ward Sept. 23. The ward includes 19 labor and delivery beds, 21 infant beds and an operating room. The Worcester Business Journal reported that the hospital intended to close the ward due to staffing challenges and a declining number of births.

The Department of Health found that "finding that the services provided by the hospital are in fact necessary for preserving access and health status within the hospital's service area." 

The hospital will now have 15 days to submit a plan for maintaining maternity care in the area. 

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