Effective Friday, April 3, 2009
Watch video of Debra Flores, administrator at Sentara CarePlex Hospital, talking about the decision to close Sentara CarePlex Hospital's 12-bed labor and delivery unit.
Hampton, Virginia – February 16, 2009 - Sentara CarePlex Hospital announced today it will close its 12-bed labor and delivery unit and nursery Friday, April 3, 2009. No other services at Sentara CarePlex Hospital will be impacted, and the hospital continues to provide gynecological services.
“This is one of the toughest decisions we’ve made at CarePlex and one we did not enter into lightly,” says Debra Flores, administrator at Sentara CarePlex Hospital. “While our decision is not a direct result of the economy, it does represent the kind of decisions hospitals across the nation are being faced with,” continues Flores.
The decision to close the labor and delivery services at Sentara CarePlex Hospital is based on the growing challenge of providing quality obstetrical services with a decreased volume. This has been caused by a loss of obstetrician coverage, combined with decreased need in the community as the number of Peninsula women of childbearing age continues to decrease.
“The three other Peninsula hospitals that provide OB care all have capacity; that factored into our decision, because we know families have nearby quality programs to choose from,” says Flores.
The number of births at Sentara CarePlex Hospital has declined for the last five years with the steepest drops in the last three. Following current trends, in 2009, CarePlex would deliver 41 percent fewer babies than in 2006, as physician patterns have significantly changed.
Sentara CarePlex Hospital remains healthy and focused on serving the Peninsula community, with one of Virginia’s busiest emergency departments and enhanced services like urology, vascular orthopedics and its cancer program. The Orthopaedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex is on schedule to open in 2010.
Four Peninsula hospitals provide obstetrical services. Neighboring hospitals like Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital and Riverside Regional Medical Center have capacity and are within about 11 miles of CarePlex. Military families have the option of selecting Langley Air Force Base, which is enhancing its women’s care services and recently opened an expanded special needs nursery. Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center provides OB services as well.
Sentara values its employees, and impacted employees are being given the highest priority for vacant nursing positions within Sentara’s women’s health services. Assistance is also being offered to employees who may wish to seek other nursing positions matching their skills and expertise.
Today, five obstetricians are providing coverage at Sentara CarePlex Hospital. By May 1, 2009, that number would have dropped to only two obstetricians.
About 75 percent of Peninsula women and physicians are selecting nearby facilities to deliver their babies.
A total of three other private Peninsula hospitals provide labor and delivery services, all with capacity. Langley Air Force Base also provides OB services to military families.
Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital, 10.47 miles from CarePlex, has 63.5 percent capacity available.
Riverside Regional Medical Center, 6.6 miles from CarePlex, has 42 percent capacity available.
Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, 31.0 miles from CarePlex, has approximately 37 percent capacity available.
Langley Air Force Base, 4.5 miles from CarePlex, serves military families.
Source: Patient level Virginia Health Information 2007