MARION — Heartland Regional Medical Center announced Friday it will no longer offer inpatient labor and delivery services after May 31. The hospital also plans to discontinue its pediatric services.
According to a statement from Director of Marketing Herby Voss, hospital administration made the decision because the demand for these services at the Marion hospital has been steadily decreasing. The statement also says a decrease in Medicaid funding contributed to the change.
The hospital will continue to provide outpatient gynecological services, according to the statement, including 3-D mammograms, through its Center for Breast Health. The statement also says the hospital remains equipped to respond to patients who are experiencing a medical emergency, obstetrics-related or otherwise.
Heartland Regional Medical Center is not affiliated with Heartland Women's Healthcare; a spokeswoman from Heartland Women's Healthcare said in a statement to the newspaper that her company is not a division of Heartland Regional Medical Center and its services are not changing.
According to the statement from Heartland Regional Medical Center, the demand for obstetrics services at the Heartland Family Birthing Center has steadily decreased in recent years; deliveries have declined by more than 36 percent since 2014.
The news release also states the hospital received significantly less Medicaid funding in 2018, and that funding was directly supporting obstetrics operations at the hospital.
"Illinois has seen a steady, statewide decline in the number of births beginning around 2010," Melisa Adkins, the hospital CEO, said in the news release.
"Our community — like many others across the country — is changing, requiring us to think differently about how we serve the public," she said.
"This was not a decision we reached lightly," she said. "But we are confident it is the right one given that expectant families will still have two options for birthing centers in Southern Illinois." Adkins referenced the nearest hospitals to Marion that offer labor services: SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and SSM Good Samaritan Hospitals in Mount Vernon.
The news release states that all the impacted employees will be offered jobs elsewhere in the hospital system.
Patients with specific questions about their upcoming deliveries are asked to contact their OB-GYN provider.