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Coshocton Hospital announces plans to close obstetrical unit

| May 7, 2014

COSHOCTON – Projections of a continued shift toward an aging population in the region, the demand for health care services to meet the needs of an older population, and consistently declining obstetrics (OB) volumes are the driving factors that led to Coshocton Hospital’s recent decision to close the obstetrics (OB) unit, “The Birthing Centre,” on June 27, 2014. The hospital will further develop their women’s care programs, but will no longer provide childbirth services. For the safety of expectant mothers and babies, extensive education and training will be provided for the nursing staff in the event of an emergency delivery.

The decision follows an extensive analysis of patient volumes, market share trends, and the economics of continuing to provide obstetrical care in a declining market. Coshocton Hospital currently delivers 36 percent of the babies in their market area, with 275 deliveries in 2012 and 227 deliveries in 2013. During the past several years, the hospital experienced significant financial losses as a result of the declining volume.

“In a county where 51 percent of the population is age 40 or older and only 15 percent of women are of childbearing age, we have determined that we can no longer continue to provide the delivery component of women’s services” stated Lorri S. Wildi, Interim CEO. “The existing space will allow us to further develop programs and services to meet the broader needs of women in our community.”

The hospital is developing plans to ensure pre-natal care continues to be offered in Coshocton. Muskingum Valley Health Center (MVHC) is committed to helping with this effort. They are also currently working with the staff of the Coshocton Hospital Women’s Care Clinic to help pregnant mothers through pre-natal care to delivery at other hospitals.

“We understand the impact of this decision on the families within our communities but must look toward planning for growth in programs that will serve our changing population with a hospital that continues to be a vital part of this community,” said Wildi. “We also recognize the impact that will be felt by our employees who have provided care for our mothers and babies, and will be working with them over the next few weeks to identify available positions and opportunities.”

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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