Rhode Island Hospital wants to deliver more babies. The hospital is seeking permission to open a new inpatient obstetrics unit.
The new unit would cost $20 million dollars, according a letter of intent filed with the state health department. In that letter, Rhode Island Hospital says it would be ready to take patients in a couple of years.
The hospital’s application comes at a time when the number of babies born in Rhode Island has risen by a little more than 600 in the past three years, according to a recently released statewide health care inventory.
The new unit, if approved, would provide direct competition for Women and Infants Hospital, where most babies in Rhode Island are now born.
Before a hospital can build a new wing or add an expensive new service, it has to go through a process called “certificate of need.” That’s where state regulators determine if the new unit is justified. The letter of intent is the first step in that process.
In an emailed statement, Rhode Island Hospital officials said the new unit is intended to complement the women's medicine services already on offer:
"As the largest academic health system in the state, we are focused on creating greater value, controlling costs, and providing a complete suite of health care services within the Lifespan system....We have already made major investments in obstetrical care and women’s medicine expertise, and now employ 60 providers in both OB/GYN Associates and the Women’s Medicine Collaborative. Rhode Island Hospital also has a new women’s medicine inpatient unit. ... With pregnancy being a major indicator of a woman’s future health status, our expertise and ability to manage care longitudinally toward improving women’s medical outcomes is enhanced by this approach..."