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Astria Health announced the closure of its Family Maternity Center at Astria Toppenish Hospital to its staff earlier this morning. Astria Toppenish Hospital (ATH) will no longer offer labor and delivery services in Toppenish, effective January 14, 2023, at midnight.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of the Family Maternity Center at Astria Toppenish Hospital,” said Cathy Bambrick, ATH Administrator. “We performed herculean efforts to sustain our beloved maternity center, but unfortunately, due to rising costs, labor shortages, and a significant reduction in Medicaid reimbursement, we’re unable to keep it open.”
In July 2021, ATH lost its 150% reimbursement Medicaid rate, which significantly impacted ATH’s finances. Since November 2021, ATH has been attempting to recruit medical staff but has been unsuccessful.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, costs of contract labor and supplies skyrocketed, coupled with the reduced financial and labor support, the service proved unsustainable,” said Bambrick. “ATH has expended tremendous resources to protect labor and delivery services for our community, losing $3.2 million over the last 12 months.”
Astria Health and ATH leaders stated to staff that the health of their patients and their loved ones remain their priority, and providing accurate information to the community is vital. ATH Emergency Department Medical Director, Dr. Raul Garcia, has worked in hospital settings that do not provide labor and delivery services. He is prepared to work with ATH Leadership and his staff to help them adjust to the influx of patients who will come to the emergency room needing labor and delivery services.
“We want to make this transition seamless for our patients and provide them with the knowledge of where they can receive labor and delivery services in the Yakima Valley,” said Dr. Garcia. “If a patient comes to our Emergency Room in active labor, we will assess the patient and provide the necessary care. We will deliver babies in the emergency room, when necessary, stabilize the patient and baby, then transfer them to a nearby facility for follow-up care.”
Dr. Garcia emphasized the importance of providing public health education to the Toppenish community. Astria Health officials are working with local healthcare entities to get this information to its community members.
“We strive to serve our patients in a safe, secure and sustainable way,” said Brian Gibbons, Astria Health President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “We’re working with healthcare providers to ensure that patients have a safe, readily available and easily accessible place to deliver their babies. We will continue to support patients pre- and post-delivery through our physicians and clinics.”
Astria Toppenish Hospital will continue to provide laboratory and ultrasound services to obstetrics patients. Astria Health will continue to offer labor and delivery services at its Family Birth Center at Astria Sunnyside Hospital. Astria Health officials are working with Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, local primary care providers and pediatricians to ensure continuity of care for expectant mothers. Mr. Gibbons stated that they’re working diligently internally to help his employees receive support during this transition.
“We’ve been delivering babies and offering maternity support for the Toppenish community since the hospital was established in the early 1950s,” said Gibbons. “We appreciate and are grateful for the work of the Family Maternity Center in Toppenish and the dedication and loyalty of our obstetrics staff, leadership and team members.”
Astria Health, headquartered in the heart of the Yakima Valley, is the largest non-profit healthcare system based in Eastern Washington. Astria Health is the parent organization of Astria Sunnyside Hospital and Astria Toppenish Hospital, along with 22 outpatient clinics offering primary care and specialty services, including but not limited to behavioral health, home health and hospice, neurosurgery, oncology, podiatry, rehabilitation therapy and sleep medicine. For more information, please visit www.astria.health.
Posted December 14, 2022