REDMOND, OR -- St. Charles Health System is moving forward with plans to close the Family Birthing Center at the Redmond hospital. The decision, announced last fall, was met with a lot of community opposition, including from Redmond’s City Council.
Medical Director for Women’s Services Dr. Barbara Newman says it wasn’t an easy decision, but now that it’s been made, they need to prepare, "The latest date that it will happen will be July 31st. We don’t have an exact date yet because we have about 13 workgroups who are dealing with the many, many problems and balls up in the air of trying to make this happen in a well-expedited way." She tells KBND News, "First of all, we are telling all our patients that the closure is happening; we’re making sure that everyone knows. There’s a marketing campaign that will be going on, to notify our community members. So, no surprises for our patients." Dr. Newman says St. Charles is also working on plans to remodel the Madras birthing center to accommodate more babies and other medical personnel will be prepared to handle deliveries, as well, "We are developing training programs, and we will be going out and giving extra training to EMS and ED [Emergency Department] providers."
St. Charles Bend is also expanding services, with plans to launch a midwifery program similar to what's currently available at the Redmond hospital. And, Dr. Newman says, expectant mothers in Redmond and the surrounding area will be able to stay with their OB-GYN, "With the closure of Redmond’s FBC, we’re estimating about 500 deliveries per year will be shifted to – predominantly Bend, but either Bend or Madras. To meet that demand, because there are no new providers coming to Bend at this stage, anyway, the hospitalists will be doing the deliveries. Our OB-GYNs who are in Redmond already, will be doing shifts as hospitalists." Those doctors are expected to stay with the Redmond Women's Clinic, which is remaining open.