BARROW COUNTY- Barrow Regional Medical Center will be closing its labor and delivery unit in July. The hospital says it has delivered 115 babies or fewer in each of the past three years, but it needs to deliver 350 babies each year in order to financially break even.
This is becoming a more and more common scene across the state. Fewer than 75 out of 180 hospitals in the state currently have labor and delivery units, and more than 40 counties in Georgia don’t have OB/GYNs available.
This is due to the high cost of the service and little reimbursement from Medicaid.
Barrow Regional Medical Center representative Chad Conner says that finances contributed to their decision to close the labor and delivery unit, but it was ultimately their low numbers. For the past three years they have delivered around 115 annually out of the almost 800 babies born each year in Barrow County.
Conner says, “I just don’t neccessarily know that our O-B kept up with the times. We needed to do some renovations, and previous administrations just weren’t able to do that or didn’t do it at the time, and so that may have led to it, but again it’s purely speculation. I’m not actually sure why people are choosing other facilities, but they are.”
Barrow Regional says it plans to focus on its other services that are doing well, like emergency services, surgery, primary care. and orthopedics.