CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Hospital, an affiliate of Penn Highlands Healthcare, announced today that it will close its maternity department, the Armstrong Birthing Center, effective April 7.
Beginning on that date, maternity patients of Clearfield’s only obstetrician, Thomas A. Carnevale, M.D., will deliver their babies at DuBois Regional Medical Center.
Carnevale will join the obstetricians at that hospital in a call schedule, but will continue to provide prenatal and postnatal care at his office in Clearfield.
Healthy Beginnings, a prenatal program for income-eligible mothers, will continue to be offered at Clearfield Hospital.
Carnevale’s office, Clearfield and DuBois hospital staff will work closely with expectant mothers to provide support during the transition and address any concerns they have.
For any mothers needing care for an emergency birth, the emergency department at Clearfield Hospital is trained to handle such cases.
According to system officials, the main decision to close the maternity department was based on the clinical and financial viability of operating the unit with only one obstetrician. Efforts to recruit another obstetrician to the Clearfield area in recent years have not been successful.
Other factors that led to the decision included declining reimbursements from government insurances and rising costs to operate the service.
“Providing labor and delivery services at one location rather than running two separate obstetrics programs is a more efficient use of resources, plus it will elevate patient care by providing access to specialists and technology not offered at Clearfield Hospital. We are confident the needs of expectant parents and their babies will be met by the Penn Highlands obstetrics team,” said Gary Macioce, Clearfield Hospital president.
The staff of The Maternity Center at DRMC includes experienced obstetricians, nurses, family medicine doctors, anesthesiologists and high-risk specialists. As the only hospital in the region with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as board certified neonatologists, critically ill and premature newborns are provided the highest level of newborn care.
The Maternity Center at DRMC also features private birthing rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology, designed with the patient’s comfort in mind.
Clearfield Hospital is not the only hospital that has faced this decision. Since 2000, more than 40 obstetrics units have closed in Pennsylvania, according to The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.