RAVENNA, Ohio — University Hospitals announced Friday that it is consolidating its delivery services between two hospitals in Portage and Geauga counties, which could leave some expectant parents in a lurch.
Specifically, delivery services will be discontinued at UH Portage Medical Center and consolidated at UH Geauga Medical Center.
The move, according to UH, will create a "regional hub providing the best outcomes and experiences for mothers and newborns." The hospital system said the transition will take effect on Nov. 12.
"Providing birthing services to patients requires 24/7 coverage from OB/GYN and pediatric physicians to ensure appropriate support for mom and baby during routine and unexpected labor and delivery events such as emergency cesarean sections. Consolidating labor and delivery services to UH Geauga will offer patients the most comprehensive care including UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s pediatric services for newborns," the hospital system said.
UH said the change is due to changes within the health care system.
"Stresses on health care systems locally and nationally, including persistent workforce shortages and declining volumes, have made it difficult for UH to continue to provide the resources needed to deliver the experience our patients deserve. National data shows patient experience improves when the number of similar procedures performed at a facility increases. Consolidating the Portage and Geauga labor and delivery teams to Geauga will allow the focus and resources needed for the highest level of care for mothers, babies and their families," UH said.
Some services, such as OB/GYN physician and midwife care, GYN surgical, and breastfeeding and lactation services, will still be available at the Portage Medical Center.
And while UH says the decision will allow medical staff to give patients the "focus and resources needed for the highest level of care," it still means that residents in Portage County will need to travel out of the county for delivery services from UH. The Geauga hospital is a nearly 40-minute drive away.
“Our goal through this transition is to continue providing mothers the experience and quality of care they expect and deserve,” said Bill Benoit, chief operating officer, UH South Market. “We’re confident this move will benefit all of our patients in a changing health care environment.”
As far as employees go, individuals who work with delivery services at the Portage Medical Center will be able to "find other opportunities at UH Portage or transfer to UH Geauga or other facilities within the health system."
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.