Plainview to Shut Maternity Unit

Crain’s Health Pulse
August 15, 2013
Plainview to Shut Maternity Unit

North Shore-LIJ filed a certificate of need application on Aug. 2 to request state permission to convert 15 maternity beds at Plainview Hospital to medical/surgical beds. With state approval, the maternity unit will close. The system's Katz Women's Hospitals would absorb the maternity cases, with significant capacity also available at Huntington and South Side hospitals. The maternity unit at Plainview is profitable, but NS-LIJ is concerned that falling volumes will have an impact on "staff competency and patient safety," said a spokesman. Plainview will handle about 1,000 maternity cases this year—about three babies a day—compared with 1,429 in 2011. Plainview hasn't been able to compete with hospitals that offer single-bedded maternity wards, including Katz, where maternity volume increased 13% between 2011 and 2012, and Winthrop-University Hospital. About 80 affected employees will be shifted to jobs within the NS-LIJ system.

Long Island Business News
North Shore-LIJ to Close Plainview Maternity Ward
by Claude Solnik
August 14, 2013

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System plans to close the Plainview Hospital maternity ward and convert the space to other uses.

Amid declining deliveries at the hospital, the Great Neck-based system on Aug. 2 submitted a plan to the New York State Department of Health to shut the 15-bed unit in November.

North Shore-LIJ most likely would turn the space into traditional hospital beds, although it might convert it into operating rooms.

The move comes after the hospital went from 1,429 deliveries in 2011 to 1,167 in 2012. About 1,000 are projected for 2013.

The decision would affect about 80 jobs, although the system expects to offer the employees other jobs in the hospital or at another North Shore-LIJ facility.

The move is part of a bigger shift as bigger hospitals grow their maternity wards, while many smaller hospitals essentially get out of the business of delivering babies.

“It’s a region-wide trend,” North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said of declining deliveries. “Those that are having babies tend to be choosing to deliver at larger hospitals with maternity units that have single-bedded rooms, more advanced neo-natal intensive care units and access to high risk maternity specialists.”

Nassau University Hospital operates the only maternity program on Long Island with fewer than 2,000 deliveries that increased volume in 2012.

At North Shore-LIJ, sleek, new maternity wards at  North Shore-University Hospital in Manhasset and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Lake Success have experienced a mini baby boom.

North Shore University Hospital in 2012 delivered 6,343 babies, while Long Island Jewish delivered 5,879 babies, a collective increase of 13 percent over 2011.

That brings the number of babies delivered at those two hospitals to more than 12,000 -  more than 1,000 a month.

But as North Shore-LIJ builds bigger, better maternity wards, some smaller maternity programs are vanishing.

North Shore-LIJ in 2003 closed its maternity ward at Glen Cove Hospital, which it plans to convert into an ambulatory surgical facility with an emergency room. The system closed Franklin Hospital’s maternity unit in Valley Stream in 2005.

And St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage, part of Catholic Health Services of Long Island, also closed its maternity ward.

North Shore-LIJ still operates maternity wards at Huntington Hospital, Southside Hospital, Forest Hills Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital.

“It really is a volume issue,” Lynam said of Plainview. “It would be a financial issue if we maintained the maternity ward and the volume continued to drop. Financially, the program is still profitable.”

Plainview Maternity Ward to Close
August 14, 2013

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System plans to convert a maternity ward at Plainview Hospital into a surgical center by Nov. 1 because of declining births at the hospital, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The health care system called the move necessary, but some medical professionals said it would leave the area's expectant mothers poorly served. Earlier this month North Shore-LIJ applied to the state Health Department to decertify the 15-bed maternity ward, spokesman Terry Lynam said.

"We are going to convert the space into either other medical surgical beds or into a surgical suite -- in other words operating rooms," Lynam said. "The space will be repurposed."

Births at the hospital are expected to fall to 1,000 this year, continuing a downward trend from 1,430 in 2011, Lynam said. Though the ward is not losing money, it will if births continue to fall, he said. The hospital is an acute care community hospital with 219 beds.

Attending physicians who refer their patients to the hospital say closing the ward means patients would have to travel farther for care.

"There really is no ob-gyn in the vicinity without going 20 or 30 minutes away," said Irwin Goldstein, an obstetrician and gynecologist. "It's leaving a big void." He said he planned to meet with other doctors Wednesday to plan a strategy to fight the plan.

Doctors said that if Plainview's maternity center closes, they would send patients to Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola or South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside.

Lewis Rosenberg, director of gynecology at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, said that over the last few years small hospitals in the Nassau-Suffolk corridor have been giving up obstetrics.

"Now you got to a point where all these people that live in this area . . . are all going to be forced to go to larger centers," Rosenberg said.

Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, which represents nurses whose jobs will be lost, said the union was concerned that profits were being put ahead of patients.
"All patients should have access to quality care," Furillo said in a statement. "The impact of the elimination of the ob-gyn department at NS-LIJ Plainview could force families to travel farther for care."

Lynam said the added distance was "reasonable" and that Plainview would still provide gynecological surgery and its emergency department would still handle obstetric and gynecological emergencies.

More women are choosing to go to larger medical centers that have advanced obstetrics and gynecology facilities like the Katz Women's hospitals in Manhasset and New Hyde Park, both of which are also part of the North Shore-LIJ system, he said. They have neonatal intensive care units and high-risk maternity specialists, he said. Last year, 12,220 babies were delivered at those facilities.





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