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Examiner
  • St. Mary's Birthing Center to close this month

  • An era in Blue Springs ends later this month with the closing of the Birthing Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center.



    The hospital says it’s largely a result of a broad change: People are having fewer babies, and the demand for birthing units is declining relative to other services.

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  • An era in Blue Springs ends later this month with the closing of the Birthing Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
    The hospital says it’s largely a result of a broad change: People are having fewer babies, and the demand for birthing units is declining relative to other services.
    St. Mary’s opened Missouri’s first birthing center in 1986, and it has been closely identified with the hospital for decades.
    “It is a big change and not one we made lightly,” said spokeswoman Cyndi Fahrlander.
    Children’s Mercy Hospitals provides neonatal care services – an essential part of a birthing unit – to area hospitals and recently notified St. Mary’s that would be ending that service at the hospital.
    “At that time, the physician group decided to decline their rights because there wouldn’t be neonatal” services, Fahrlander said.
    The last patients will be admitted July 22, and the unit closes July 26. Fahrlander said she didn’t know how many jobs would be affected but said some people will move to Saint Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City.
    “Birth rates are lower all over our country right now,” said CEO Annette Small.
    She said the demand for other services is rising with an aging population. The hospital did 300 joint surgeries such as hip and knee replacements last year.
    The Birthing Center space will be used to expand the hospital’s Joint and Spine Institute/Surgical Institute. The space is enough for two operating rooms and 19 patient rooms. The hospital stresses the need to keep up with the services patients need and use.
    “The people of this community love St. Mary’s, and they want to come here,” Small said.
    St. Mary’s and Saint Joseph are in the process of being sold to HCA, which owns several metro area hospitals, including Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence. That sale is awaiting regulatory approval.
     
     
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