Another Maine Hospital Closing Its Maternity Services Unit
Over the last few years, we have seen several hospitals stop offering birthing and maternity services.
These changes have been brought on by several things. Sometimes, this is because there are other, better equipped, hospitals in a given area. Those other hospitals get much of the "baby" business.
Other times, it is for economic reasons. With fewer younger people moving to Maine, especially in the state's rural areas, there are not enough expectant mothers and not enough babies being born. The hospitals find that they are not bringing in enough money to offset the cost of running that particular section of the hospital.
Sometimes, it is a mixture of several reasons.
According to an article on the WABI website, Northern Maine Medical Center, in Fort Kent, will close their obstetrics unit on May 26th.
The hospital has reportedly seen a big decline in the number of births in recent years and, like many places, they have been having a lot of trouble finding qualified medical staff.
And, while we feel that this is an issue that started during (or because of) the pandemic, it is something that has been going on for over a decade. According to the article, between 2006 and 2020, more than 400 US maternity units closed.
At this point, the hospital plans to discontinue offering maternity services on Friday, May 26th.
Fortunately, there are several other hospitals in Aroostook County that offer maternity services. These include Northern Light A R Gould in Presque Isle and Houlton Regional Hospital. While they are not extremely close, they are no more than a 45 minute drive from most of the region.