Advocates for Memorial Hospital are keeping up their fight to stop the closure of the hospital’s birthing center. They’re calling for a halt while the hospital's parent company, Care New England, considers a merger with Southcoast Health System.
The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union wants state health officials to stop their review of Memorial Hospital’s plan to close the birthing center. They contend the obstetrical unit is too important to the community in Pawtucket, and they say it can be revived with some effort. But Memorial Hospital President Dr. Michael Dacey says there just aren’t enough patients.
“And so we feel very strongly that the obstetrical service has to move to Women and Infants because you cannot have a low volume obstetrical service at a low volume hospital," Dacey says. "You just cannot have that.”
Dacey says the hospital has begun to stem its financial losses, down to $2 million a month from $3 million a month. But even that progress, he says, isn't enough to justify keeping the birthing center open.
A lawyer for UNAP says the union has tried to stop the closure through the courts but that effort failed. Now, United Nurses and Allied Professionals attorney Chris Collaci says he hopes pressure from state lawmakers will change Memorial’s mind.
“We have the support of a number of state senators and state reps to stand with us to call for the governor and the Department of Health to halt their review of the pending application that Care New England filed to close the birthing center at Memorial Hospital," says Collaci.
Collaci spoke at a press conference at the statehouse.
The health department could not be immediately reached for comment.