Save the North Shore Birth Center at Beverly Hospital!

Save the North Shore Birth Center at Beverly Hospital!

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Rebecca Hains started this petition to Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands

On May 11, 2022, Beverly Hospital/Beth Israel Lahey Health announced plans to close the North Shore Birth Center, a nationally respected and regionally beloved midwifery practice on the hospital’s campus that has supported the births of nearly 10,000 babies over the last 42 years. The announced closure is alarming: it ignores all evidence-based practices for maternal health and no other comparable practice exists in our area. We call on Beverly Hospital to reverse this harmful decision. 

We are especially appalled by plans for closure given the excellent health outcomes associated with midwifery birth center practices. Indeed, the latest recommendations for improving maternal health, addressing racial disparities, and lowering health care costs in Massachusetts call for greater access to midwives and out-of-hospital birth options.  

The hospital cites staffing shortages in their closure decision, but we feel strongly that any such shortages are worth the challenges management may face in resolving them. We urge Beverly Hospital to commit to prioritizing the health of women and families. Our community deserves a safe place to birth outside of a hospital, with care from dedicated, skilled, and compassionate certified nurse-midwives. 

In electing to shutter the NSBC, Beverly Hospital is failing to follow evidence-based best practices for low- to moderate-risk pregnancies and is increasing risks for all patients—especially the most marginalized and vulnerable among us. Birth centers are safer than hospital deliveries, with fewer complications for lower-risk patients and babies. Nationwide, the cesarean birth rate for low-risk patients in birth centers is more than four times lower than it is in hospitals.

At a time when women’s rights to bodily autonomy and reproductive health care are being gravely threatened, the hospital’s unilateral decision to close the birth center is truly shocking. It takes away a deeply personal choice for how and where to birth and sets our region’s maternity healthcare options back several decades, disregarding increasing nationwide concerns about the systematic erasure of women’s health care options across the U.S. 

We understand this may not be the hospital’s intent. But as a recent report on maternal health services by the Massachusetts Nurses Association notes, “There is almost always a disconnect between the hospital’s plans when closing a unit and the reality for expectant mothers after the closure.” The closure’s impact on families across eastern Massachusetts will be serious, indeed.

We call upon the executive management of Beverly Hospital and Beth Israel Lahey Health, including President Tom Sands, to reverse the decision to close the birth center. We urge them to instead provide the center’s certified nurse-midwives with good working conditions, as well as the necessary resources to effectively operate this invaluable community asset.

— The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

P.S. Disclosure: Funds donated to Change.org via this petition are retained by Change.org as unrestricted funds. They are not passed to the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center.

 

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