Rumford Hospital, plans to close its maternity unit, effective March 31, 2023.
A number of factors played into the decision to close the service, including a declining birth rate, a severe and persistent shortage of obstetricians willing to practice in an area with so few deliveries, and the pressing need for a more consistent plan for women’s healthcare in the Rumford region.
“This was an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to make,” said Steve Littleson, DBA, FACHE, president and CEO, Central Maine Healthcare and interim president, Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital. “The Rumford Hospital maternity service has a long and proud history, but given the staffing challenges and changing population, turning the page is in the best interests of our patients.” This development mirrors what is happening to maternity units throughout the country in rural areas. Between 2006 and 2020, more than 400 rural maternity units closed in the U.S.
Rumford Hospital’s maternity unit opened in 1926 and has been delivering babies ever since. “This will certainly mark the end of an era here in the Rumford area,” said Stephany Jacques, RN, MSN, vice president of nursing and patient care services, whose daughter was born at Rumford Hospital. “So many local people were born at Rumford Hospital, as were their parents and grandparents. We have a rich history of caring for women and families in our community.”
Rumford Hospital’s commitment to caring for women will continue through the dedicated services of family practitioners and a certified nurse midwife, who will provide prenatal care for expectant mothers who make appointments at Rumford Hospital.
Expectant mothers in the region will still be able to deliver their babies at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. CMMC recently expanded its maternity services by adding additional obstetrical staff and improving the capabilities of its level 2 special care nursery. CMMC’s maternity service includes neonatal intensive care, and was recently recognized as “High Performing in Maternity” by U.S. News & World Report.
The closure of Rumford Hospital’s maternity service will not result in the loss of any jobs for Central Maine Healthcare team members.
Rumford Hospital will remain committed to providing the best and most innovative healthcare available for the River Valley, including:
• Primary care
• Cancer care
• Emergency department
• Many specialty services, including gastroenterology, surgery, podiatry, and endocrinology
For our patients with questions, please reach out to Swift River Family Medicine at 207-369-0146 or discuss these changes with your OB/GYN or primary care provider.