Hospitals in Georgia are closing the maternity dept. and saying “No more babies“. Hospitals lose millions each year on maternity patients and closing the maternity dept. is one way of saving money.
Last year, Burke Medical Center faced some tough math in trying to keep its childbirth services going.
The 40-bed hospital in Waynesboro, in rural east Georgia, was losing more than $1 million per year on its obstetrical services.
Given the high overhead, a hospital must deliver 500 babies or more a year to break even on that service, says Stephen Shepherd, CEO of Burke Medical Center. “In rural areas, getting up to 500 babies is tough.’’
Hospitals that say “no more babies” is a growing trend.
Among Georgia’s “critical access” hospitals –- rural facilities with no more than 25 inpatient beds –- 32 of 34 have given up maternity services, according to Jimmy Lewis of HomeTown Health, a rural hospital organization.
About 60 percent of births in Georgia every year are covered by Medicaid, and Georgia physicians and hospitals say the government insurance program generally does not pay them enough to make up for the costs of the care. Georgia OB/GYNs have not had a Medicaid pay increase in more than a decade.
Mothers that rely on the taxpayer to fund the cost of labor and delivery might have to reconsider the consequences of their actions. You can’t expect doctors, hospitals and staff to perform services at a loss if you don’t have the means to pay for your care.
Obstetricians will not be getting an increase from Medicaid due to restrictions in Obamacare. In fact, most will be expected to take a pay cut.