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September 11, 2023

UMass Memorial to go forward with Sept. 23 closure of Leominster maternity ward

PHOTO | Courtesy of Google Maps UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital in Leominster

After adjusting its plans to regulators’ concerns, UMass Memorial Health intends to go forward with its plan to close the inpatient maternity unit at HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital in Leominster. 

In a Monday letter from UMass Memorial to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Worcester-based hospital system said it would enact the closure on Sept. 23, as originally planned, after adjusting its proposed continuance of coverage outline. The announcement comes after months of staunch opposition from advocates in the North Central Massachusetts community. 

DPH previously told UMass Memorial its plan did not sufficiently meet the requirements of closure, and that the last day of services would need to be pushed back.

According to the hospital, it has now sufficiently met the requirements outlined by DPH required to close. 

UMass Memorial will provide 24/7/365 curb-to-curb transportation for patients needing non-emergency maternity services at alternative locations, including transportation for their families, as well as invest more than $600,000 in the North Central Massachusetts community as part of its plan to satisfy requirements.
“We want to be unequivocally clear that this was a clinical decision that comes down to a severe workforce shortage and the inability to consistently provide 24/7 labor and delivery care. Over the years, workforce shortages in essential clinical professions and steadily declining delivery volume have severely impacted the sustainability of the unit,” UMass Memorial Health said in a Monday statement to caregivers in the system.

[Related: The high cost of delivering babies: Leominster maternity center battle part of national struggle]

The health system said its UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester has the capacity to accommodate the additional patients, according to the statement. 

DPH has not yet responded to the Monday letter from UMass Memorial.

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