SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Dozens of people marched to RiverBend Hospital on Friday to show their support for the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center, which is set to close on Aug. 30.
People walked from a nearby park to the hospital while holding signs and chanting. Once there, a small group went into the hospital to give a petition they said has over 9,000 signatures from people who support keeping the birth center open.
Jenny Noyce with the group Lane County Friends of the Birth Center said the birth center closing would leave few options for expecting mothers.
"We feel that PeaceHealth is sort of unilaterally removing that choice from a whole swath of people in this community who have very clearly said we have to continue to have the option of delivering our babies out of the hospital," Noyce said.
PeaceHealth spokeswoman Marcy Marshall said only about 50 deliveries happen at the center a year, and that's not enough. Officials said they plan to integrate all of the services at the birth center into RiverBend Hospital and add more services, including drug-free pain management. They say midwifery, prenatal and postpartum services will continue within the community.
Below is a statement from Marshall on PeaceHealth's response to the rally and community advocacy for the birth center:
"PeaceHealth’s Mission calls us to provide safe, sustainable, high-quality care for mothers and families in Lane County. As our decision to transition Birth Center deliveries to RiverBend has been made, our focus now is on how to offer an integrated model at RiverBend that continues midwifery services through partnerships and that preserves the valued services including prenatal and postpartum care for Lane County women. We are continuing to explore ways to repurpose the existing Birth Center facility to provide enhanced family-centered services for our community.
Our invitation to the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center leadership continues to be extended and we look forward to including them in our planning process. We value their viewpoint and share their desire to provide Lane County women with a spectrum of birth plan choices. It is our sincere hope that we will work together to make sure all expectant mothers enjoy safe, meaningful and empowering childbirth experiences today and well into the future.”
Below is a fact sheet PeaceHealth provided to KEZI 9 News:
- Riverbend Hospital on lockdown; man in custody
- Health care unions hold rally outside RiverBend over contract negotiations
- Neighbors terrified by RiverBend homeless
- No one injured when two SUVs collide near Riverbend Hospital
- Therapy dogs spread holiday cheer at Riverbend Hospital
- Guild pledges $1M for Heartfelt House at Riverbend Hospital campus
- Patient life-flighted to Riverbend after crash
- PeaceHealth's Family Birth Center to close in August
- Harlem Globetrotters spread smiles by visiting children at Riverbend, YMCA