Rural Iowa hospital to end labor and delivery services

Iowa Falls, Iowa-based Hansen Family Hospital will end its labor and delivery services on Nov. 23, after its primary physician leaves the hospital, according to The Courier.

The rural hospital will shift to a "share care" model for labor and delivery care. HFH practitioners will provide expectant mothers with prenatal care, while late-pregnancy appointments and deliveries will take place at the institution's partner hospitals — the closest of which are roughly 40 miles away in every direction, Hansen Family Hospital CEO Doug Morse told The Courier.

Several factors led officials to make the decision, Mr. Morse said, including limited funds, declining patient populations and a "severe shortage of practitioners willing and able to deliver" babies at rural hospitals.

"This is a decade-plus phenomenon," he said. "We are one of eight rural hospitals in Iowa that are stopping deliveries this year."

Since 2001, 27 rural hospitals in Iowa have ended their labor and delivery services. Nationally, 179 rural counties have lost hospital-based obstetric services between 2004 and 2014, according to data published the Journal of the American Medical Association cited by The Courier.

To access the full report, click here.

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