Protestors gathered outside Care New England headquarters today, opposing plans to close the birthing center at Memorial Hospital. The health care organization announced plans to close the unit to trim costs. But, the state's health department has to approve that plan first.
A group called the Coalition to Save Memorial Birthing Center organized the protest outside Care New England’s offices in Providence. They’ve also gathered more than three thousand names on a petition to stop Memorial Hospital from closing its birthing center. Memorial officials say they’ll transition patients to other Care New England hospitals, like Women and Infants. They say closing the birthing center is a necessary move to stem more financial losses at the struggling hospital.
The Rhode Island Department of Health will hold several public hearings about Memorial’s proposal next week. It recently issued a statement saying Memorial needed to follow protocol before moving forward.
Care New England issued a statement in response to the protests:
"We appreciate the passion of the families who have come out today to support the obstetrical unit at Memorial Hospital, and we’re happy that many had enjoyable birth experiences there. Care New England cares about all of our patients and families and the decision to close the unit as part of a larger restructuring plan at Memorial was a difficult one.
However, we cannot deny the financial difficulties Memorial continues to face and to avoid such drastic measures in order to keep the entire facility open – and also preserve the viability of the health care system as a whole – would not be fiscally prudent."