On Nov. 15, 2019, the CHI St. Francis Health board of directors called for the closure of the SFH obstetrical unit after a thorough and conscientious discernment process. CHI St. Francis Health has identified a significant decline in births over the past two years dropping 60 percent. This difficult decision was based on the realization that the community currently has a limited number of family physicians accepting obstetrical patients who wish to deliver at CHI St. Francis Health as well as the awareness that many expectant mothers are choosing to travel out of the community for delivery. In addition, with the reduction of births at CHI St. Francis Health, our well trained and dedicated nurses cannot utilize their skills consistently as it pertains to labor, delivery and postpartum procedures.
Carter Hansen, Board Chair, stated that CHI St. Francis Health continues to be a viable health care provider in the community keeping its patient and employee needs at the forefront. The closure of the obstetrical unit is strictly based on the lack of volume and the CHI St. Francis Health board of directors and administration want to keep our nurses active in their trained profession; sharing their compassion for our patients but equally as important, their skills.
“Though we may be going away from obstetrics, we are exploring new opportunities for services and programs that are more frequently needed in the community and surrounding area,” Hansen said.
In addition, Dr. Andrew Stasko, Chief Medical Officer for CHI St. Francis Health commented, “Even though we are forced to discontinue OB services, this does not mean that St Francis’s other services to the community are impacted. We will continue to be able to meet the community’s needs in these areas.”
SFH has an excellent Primary Care Clinic that can offer prenatal care for expectant mothers so that they would be able to attend appointments locally without time concerns or hazards of travel. The providers will share several delivery options throughout so that they can prepare for the arrival of their loved one. In the event that travel time for delivery is compromised or if there are unforeseeable complications, CHI St. Francis Health will continue to be available for emergency deliveries.
The transition of service will occur May 30, 2020. David Nelson, President of CHI St. Francis Health, said, “We’re making this announcement now to ensure that any expectant mothers in our community and surrounding area do not have any added stress or concern as It pertains to their care and delivery options.”