St. Vin­cent elim­i­nat­ing its LR birth pro­grams

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Front Page - GINNY MONK

Lit­tle Rock’s CHI St. Vin­cent hos­pi­tal will phase out la­bor, de­liv­ery and neona­tal in­ten­sive care ser­vices over the next few months, aim­ing to end the pro­grams by March.

That date could change be­cause of births al­ready sched­uled, ac­cord­ing to a writ­ten state­ment from the hos­pi­tal.

CHI St. Vin­cent’s will of­fer the pro­grams’ 65 nurs­ing staff mem­bers other po­si­tions within its cen­tral Arkansas sys­tem, and physi­cians will still work in women’s health ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to the hos­pi­tal’s state­ment.

Hospi­tals in Hot Springs

and south­west Arkansas will will pro­vide de­liv­ery ser­vices.

“… We will con­tinue to grow that pro­gram in the south­west Arkansas com­mu­nity where there are few other op­tions for care for preg­nant women,” CEO Chad Adud­dell wrote in a let­ter re­leased Thurs­day on a CHI St. Vin­cent blog.

Adud­dell also wrote that the hos­pi­tal is work­ing on part­ner­ships to en­sure that St. Vin­cent em­ploy­ees who are preg­nant or be­come preg­nant re­ceive cov­ered la­bor and de­liv­ery care.

Of­fi­cials con­sid­ered the de­ci­sion for about a year and a half be­fore de­cid­ing that there were enough hospi­tals of­fer­ing de­liv­ery in cen­tral

Arkansas, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. UAMS Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Bap­tist Health Med­i­cal Cen­ter pro­vide ma­ter­nity ser­vices, in­clud­ing births.

Cam Patterson, Univer­sity of Arkansas for Med­i­cal Sci­ences chan­cel­lor, said he had been talk­ing with CHI St. Vin­cent ex­ec­u­tives for about two weeks.

The teach­ing hos­pi­tal was al­ready mak­ing plans to ex­pand its de­liv­ery ser­vices, he said. The hos­pi­tal al­ready has room to ac­com­mo­date at least 800 more births per year.

“The lead­er­ship at St. Vin­cent reached out to us as soon as this ap­peared to be a pos­si­bil­ity,” Patterson said. “We have care­ful plans to make sure that we are able to ac­com­mo­date an in­crease in de­liv­er­ies and ba­bies who

re­quire [in­ten­sive] care.”

Some moth­ers get­ting care at St. Vin­cent are al­ready sched­ul­ing ap­point­ments at UAMS, said Leslie Taylor, the UAMS vice chan­cel­lor for com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing.

In 2016, a peak year for births in Lit­tle Rock, UAMS de­liv­ered 3,828 ba­bies. Usu­ally, closer to 3,400 are born there per year. A St. Vin­cent rep­re­sen­ta­tive could not con­firm the num­ber of births the hos­pi­tal had last year.

There are three po­si­tions open for reg­is­tered nurses on the UAMS de­liv­ery ward, Taylor said.

Patterson said he an­tic­i­pates that some nurses from CHI St. Vin­cent who want to stay in ob­stet­rics might fill the open spots.

UAMS could “eas­ily ab­sorb” St. Vin­cent’s pa­tients from the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit, Patterson said.

The ob­ste­tri­cians at UAMS are high-risk preg­nancy spe­cial­ists. The neona­tal care unit has 64 pri­vate rooms where new moth­ers can stay with their ba­bies. It’s the only hos­pi­tal in the state where moms can stay with their ba­bies.

Six of the rooms can be re­ar­ranged to make room for twins, triplets or quadru­plets, Taylor said.

Patterson said he thinks it is more ef­fi­cient to have two larger pro­grams — at UAMS and Bap­tist — than two large pro­grams and a small one.

“I think from a pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence stand­point, this is very good for moms,” Patterson said.

Bap­tist Health did not re­turn phone calls ask­ing for com­ment.

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