REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors will discuss a resolution, Tuesday night, encouraging St. Charles Health System to keep the Family Birthing Center (FBC) open at its Redmond hospital. The St. Charles Board of Directors is considering a proposal to consolidate Labor & Delivery services at the Bend hospital. A final decision is expected later this year.
FBC caregivers, like RN Amber Loredo, plan to speak at Tuesday's Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. She says she'll be there as a patient and employee, "Because this is a big issue that is going to effect, not only patients and nurses, but also there are family members; not to mention, even infrastructure. And, to really let their voices be heard, much like a lot of the population in Redmond and surrounding communities are doing, right now." She's referring to the Oregon Nurses Association petition in favor of keeping Redmond's FBC, which now has more than 2,440 signatures.
Loredo acknowledges the City Council can’t force the health system to keep the facility open. But, but she hopes their resolution will have an impact, "This is a political entity and has a lot of important issues that they deal with for the Redmond community on a very frequent basis. And, without political and government structures, we’d kind of be in a little place of mayhem." She tells KBND News, "[It] just kind of shows everybody that the community involvement and expectations for healthcare is really, really important. It also shows that everyone really comes together and cares about what goes on in the community."
City Councilor Jon Bullock's re-election campaign issued the following statement from Bullock, in advance of Tuesday's vote:
Redmond moms and families should not be forced into a position of traveling nearly 20 miles to Bend to welcome their newborn baby into the world. This is especially true during our winter months when travel can be dangerous and time consuming, depending upon weather conditions.
I want Redmond moms and families to be able to deliver their children in Redmond. I want them to be able to be near their friends and their support system, and I want them to be just a short drive from their home.
When I expressed interest in filling the vacant Council position in 2017, it was because I wanted to give back to Redmond, a community that has provided me with a great place to live and work and to raise my daughter. I wanted to help and support the citizens of Redmond. It is for those same reasons I am seeking reelection this November to earn a four-year term.
As such, I cannot sit idly by and allow the St. Charles Medical Center Board to decide the fate of the Redmond Birthing Center without making my opposition to a move crystal clear. In addition to the problems this closure might cause for moms and families, it also puts at risk jobs that may be transferred out of Redmond or might potentially be eliminated all together.
In 2001, when the Central Oregon District Hospital consolidated with St. Charles, there was commitment to enhance the public health and general welfare of all residents. The proposed relocation of the Birthing Center is not consistent with that commitment and that is why on Tuesday evening I will be supporting the City Council resolution opposing the closing and relocating of the Redmond Birthing Center.