Springfield Hospital and Springfield Medical Care Systems Board of Directors Vote to Close Childbirth Center Services

To the Springfield Hospital and SMCS Community:

Our goal is to keep you updated as difficult decisions are considered and made. This is one of those updates.

At a special Board meeting held Tuesday evening, March 19, 2019, the Springfield Hospital and Springfield Medical Care Systems boards voted to close the Hospital’s Childbirth Center. The Hospital will collaborate with other area health systems to provide childbirth services for the region.

After months of careful analysis and a full week of additional analysis after hosting listening sessions as employees, members of the medical staff, and the community shared information and insights regarding the continuation of childbirth services at Springfield Hospital, the vote favored closure.

This was a very difficult decision with valid points on both sides of the question. No one wants to see the elimination of childbirth services at Springfield Hospital. In the end, however, a sound business decision was necessary and in the best interest of the financial future of this organization. Continuing to offer childbirth services is too large a financial strain on the Hospital at a time when it is not strong enough to support continued losses.

Springfield Hospital has welcomed thousands of families and babies over many generations — from Springfield and other local towns. Similar to experiences of other hospitals throughout the region, costs of care are outpacing revenues and those trends are only projected to rise. This echoes a national trend, as a University of Minnesota study reports nearly 10 percent of rural counties, nationally, lost obstetrics services between 2004 and 2014.

As we continue to address serious financial challenges, closure of the Childbirth Center is one step in the very difficult process of reviewing all services to determine the best alignment of community needs, support for the services, and sustainable payment policies.

Springfield Hospital Board Chairman Jim Rumrill comments, “The Board review process and vote was painstaking and thorough, with a great deal of personal consideration required on the part of our Board members. This was a very tough decision. I want to express my appreciation to our Board for their diligence and hard work throughout this difficult process. On behalf of our Board, I want to assure our communities that we will work equally hard to develop an appropriate transition process for families and staff. We want all families to be well informed about the options available to them and the timetable involved, so they can make the choices that are best for their personal situation.”

We appreciate the dedication of our Childbirth Center and obstetrics staff that showed deep and unwavering commitment to our patients and the community throughout this process.

As painful as this decision is, it will help Springfield Hospital continue to provide greatly-needed access to other healthcare services for many years to come.

We will continue to listen to voices inside and outside of our organizations as other decisions are made in the coming months.

-Mike Halstead, MBA, Interim CEO, Springfield Hospital
-Josh Dufresne, MBA, Acting CEO, Springfield Medical Care Systems