FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2014
HHC North Central Bronx Hospital Announces Plans to Reopen Labor & Delivery Services
Comprehensive Maternity Services Scheduled to Resume Late Summer 2014
||L-R: William Walsh, Network SVP; Dr. Michael Zinaman, Chairman N. Bronx Obstetrics & Gynecology; Congressman Charles Rangel
Bronx, NY ― New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s North Central Bronx Hospital (NCBH) officials today announced plans to reopen the hospital’s Labor and Delivery services by late Summer 2014 with an experienced team of medical professionals who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology care and reflect HHC’s commitment to restore safe, high quality and comprehensive women’s health services for the North Bronx community. The maternity services were suspended last August due to physician and other staff vacancies that HHC and NCBH leadership believed could put at risk the quality and safety of patient care.
The details of the reopening plan for the inpatient unit were announced by HHC North Bronx Healthcare Network Senior Vice President William Walsh and the new Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chairman Michael Zinaman, M.D. They were joined by a number of elected officials, labor and community leaders who voiced their support for the reopening of the essential community services, including Congressman Charles Rangel, Public Advocate Leticia James, NYC Council Members Andy King, Fernando Cabrera and a representative from Council Member Andy Cohen’s office; the Commission on the Public’s Health System, and labor representatives from Doctors Council/SEIU, New York State Nurses Association, DC 37/Local 420 and union local 1199.
HHC Senior VP William Walsh said, “Last week we received approval from the New York State Department of Health to allow us the necessary time to complete all of the steps required for safely restoring maternity services at North Central Bronx Hospital with a target of doing so by the end of the summer. We are pleased to have the support of our elected officials, our labor partners and the community, and look forward to working with them to increase utilization of the maternity services that we are resuming at NCBH. We want to ensure that women in the North Bronx take full advantage of the comprehensive services available in this hospital.”
Dr. Michael Zinaman said, “Our priority is to deliver safe services to our patients. That’s why our focus will be to put in place a seasoned team of clinical experts from among our existing talented staff who have been working at Jacobi and newly recruited clinical professionals who will be focused on delivering quality care, healthy babies and a great patient experience.”
Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, "It is wonderful that expectant mothers in the North Bronx can soon receive quality maternity services closer to home. I thank the leadership at HHC, as well as Public Advocate James, and Council Members Torres, King, Cabrera and Cohen, for effectively working together to ensure the timely reopening of the North Central Bronx Hospital's Women's Health Services department with top-notch medical staff and care. When women are healthy, families are healthy.”
City Council Member Andrew Cohen said, "I am pleased that we have a plan to reopen the Labor and Delivery Unit at North Central. These much needed services are vital for the community and the borough. It is great that our families will once again have high quality, dependable care close to home."
City Council Member Andy King said, "It was a relief to learn that the New York State Department of Health approved the necessary time to complete all of the steps required for safely restoring maternity services at North Central Bronx Hospital. I want to thank Congress Member Rangel, Public Advocate James, my colleagues in the City Council and the unions for working with HHC and keeping the issue of reopening the labor and delivery unit at NCBH a high priority. The re-opening of the hospital’s maternity unit will mean expectant mothers and their families will not have to worry about traveling a long distance for services,"
Details of the reopening plan for NCBH’s maternity services include:
- An investment of nearly $4.5 million for restructuring the staff and operations of the Women's Health Services at NCBH;
- A new staff model with a core provider team of experienced physicians, physician assistants, specially trained registered nurses and licensed midwives essential to operate a quality community hospital maternity unit;
- Investments guided by recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetrics & Neonatal Nurses;
- A commitment to maintain the midwives’ central role on the healthcare provider team;
- An aggressive effort to recruit experienced specialists in obstetrics and gynecology to oversee the delivery of care;
- Voluntary re-assignment of staff from Jacobi Medical Center back to NCBH;
- Upgrades to selected patient care areas;
- Improved and timely access to outpatient Women's Health services, including prenatal care, family planning, and GYN surgical services;
- Referral criteria for treating high-risk pregnancies at Jacobi;
- Regular community stakeholder updates.
“We are committed to being transparent and to keeping an open dialogue with our partners in the community to ensure the word gets out about our restored services,” added Walsh.
The services of the 26-bed inpatient maternity unit at NCBH were suspended in August 2013 due to senior physician vacancies and concerns about appropriate staffing. As a result, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) officials consolidated labor and delivery services from two campuses at NCBH and Jacobi Medical Center, to one campus at Jacobi, to better target resources and ensure optimal staffing to provide the most comprehensive, safe and efficient model of inpatient obstetrical and gynecological care for patients. All pre-natal patients were referred to Jacobi and other neighboring hospitals for deliveries. A dedicated ambulance service was made available to patients at no cost, and a free shuttle service between the two hospitals was offered to patients and staff.
In 2013, NCBH staff delivered 1,400 babies. The majority of expectant mothers from NCBH continued to receive full ambulatory/outpatient obstetric and gynecological services at NCBH. Since the consolidation more than 80 percent of NCBH patients who were receiving prenatal care have delivered their babies at Jacobi.
No employees from NCBH lost their jobs as a result of the consolidation and most chose to transfer to Jacobi and follow their patients there.