New York system files lawsuit against state AG over hospital birthing center closure

Albany, N.Y.-based St. Peter's Health Partners and its Troy, N.Y.-based Samaritan Hospital filed a lawsuit on Feb. 28 against New York state Attorney General Letitia James's office seeking relief from the court regarding the office's investigation into the hospital's planned closure of its Burdett Birth Center. 

"The Attorney General's Office has not provided us with any significant basis for an investigation," a spokesperson for St. Peter's said in a statement shared with Becker's. "Despite months of efforts made toward cooperation with the Attorney General’s office, and avenues pursued toward resolution to address any perceived concerns, we were unable to resolve our differences."

St. Peter's initially submitted a closure plan for the hospital's maternity unit to the state Department of Health last June but opted to delay the plans in October. 

"This facility has provided vital services which take patient concerns, priorities, and values into account, and has helped serve families throughout the Capital Region and beyond," Ms. James said in an Oct. 23 news release. "My office will continue to do everything within our power to ensure this essential facility remains open."

St. Peter's received a cease-and-desist letter from the health department in late December ordering it to keep its beds and services running at the center. 

The nonprofit health system then submitted a second plan of closure for the hospital's birthing center, citing declining births, declining referrals, healthcare worker shortages, operating losses, and low Medicaid payments as some of the deciding factors.

"The commencement of an investigation into this closure requires more justification than mere disagreement with a decision," the statement from St. Peter's said. "We are seeking relief from the court since this puts an enormous operational and financial burden on our health system and impedes our ability to serve our mission and the community."

Becker's has reached out to the attorney general's office for a comment regarding the lawsuit and will update this story as more information becomes available. 

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