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Nurse Midwifery Birth Center FAQ

Q. Is the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center closing?
A. All deliveries will transition to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at RiverBend Medical Center after August 31st. The Birth Center facility will be renamed and repurposed to provide family-centered health-related services going forward.

Q. What are the changes that are occurring?
A. PeaceHealth is transitioning midwife deliveries from the Birth Center to RiverBend to ensure that Lane County mothers have access to the best in safe, high-quality and sustainable birth choices today and for years to come. While the majority of midwife-assisted deliveries already happen at RiverBend, after August 31, 2019, all midwife-assisted deliveries will take place there.

What’s not changing: Midwifery, prenatal and postpartum services will continue within the community. We are developing plans to maintain family-centered services at the present Birth Center facility. We welcome the community’s input as we develop these plans. To learn more about what is and isn’t changing under the future model click here.

Q. Will I still have the option of midwifery?
A. Yes. Working with community partners, it’s very important to us to provide a broad range of birth plan choices including midwifery services that meet our community’s needs for flexibility, safety and quality.

Women’s Care has been a valued PeaceHealth partner for decades and we have worked together to provide midwifery services since 2011. We have a shared commitment to serving the women and families in Lane County and are in ongoing dialogue to work through the details of our collaboration as we transition deliveries from the Birth Center to RiverBend.

It is our mutual goal to provide a range of birthing options while ensuring that all expectant mothers enjoy safe, meaningful and empowering childbirth experiences today and well into the future.

Q. I’m an expectant mother currently receiving care from the Birth Center, what are my options?
A. As of August 31, 2019, we will no longer be doing deliveries at the Birth Center. We are working with all current patients to ensure a smooth and compassionate care experience. PeaceHealth Medical Group midwives will continue to follow up with you to ensure that you have a birth plan in place that supports you and the arrival and care of your newborn. 

  1. Expectant Mothers Due Between Now and August 31: Your care, including your delivery and follow-up services, will continue as planned.
  1. Expectant Mothers Due Between September 1 – September 30: If your due date is after our anticipated August 31 transition date, the Birth Center will no longer be available as a location to deliver your baby (unless your baby is a little early and arrives before Aug. 31!) Our midwives will be delivering babies at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend after this date and can care for you at this location. Based on your September due date, you can continue to receive your care from a PeaceHealth Medical Group midwife including pre-natal and post-natal services – only the location of deliveries is changing. Your follow-up services also will continue as planned to include home visits, lactation support and access to the baby clinic as needed.
  1. Expectant Mothers Due After September 30: As of Aug. 31, 2019, all deliveries will transition from the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. The PeaceHealth midwives will be offering birthing services at RiverBend through the month of September but will no longer be performing deliveries after Sept. 30.

You do have the option to continue to receive care from our integrated obstetrics team at RiverBend and in collaboration or with several of our valued community partners such as:

  • Women’s Care: (who will provide certified nurse midwifery services), womenscare.com, Eugene 541-686-2922, Springfield 541-868-9700
  • Pacific Women’s Center: pacificwomenscenter.com, 541-342-8616

You can also opt to receive care from a nurse midwife or provider of your choosing other than those listed above.

Q. Will the changes to the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center create unnecessary, avoidable gaps in care?
A. No. PeaceHealth is committed to ensuring continuity of care and the same high-quality, affordable pre- and postnatal services currently offered. Under the future obstetrics model, PeaceHealth also plans to further expand OB/GYN services to better meet the needs of the community.

PeaceHealth will also continue to provide equitable access to quality care, especially for our most vulnerable. PeaceHealth continues to work with the Community Health Centers (CHC) of Lane County to assure a sustainable path forward for lactation, prenatal and postnatal programs.

Q. Why is this happening?
A. Over the course of a decade, the needs of a community can change and that is the case here. Today, in Lane County, the birth rate is declining, and a significantly higher proportion of mothers are choosing to wait later in life to give birth. We have seen a shift toward higher risk pregnancy categories and increasingly lower volumes of births at the Birth Center over the past five years—a situation that is not sustainable. Our top priority must be assuring high-quality, meaningful outcomes for all mothers and babies. By transitioning all deliveries to RiverBend, we can absolutely assure patient safety while also continuing to preserve ongoing access to midwifery, prenatal and postpartum services that our community members value so highly.

Q. How will this affect PeaceHealth caregivers?
A.  We intend to honor and support our Birth Center caregivers throughout this transition. PeaceHealth is extremely proud of the care and service delivered at our Birth Center and our caregivers’ dedication and compassion. We are working closely with all affected caregivers during this transition consistent with our values and policies.

Q. What does PeaceHealth mean when it refers to its future obstetrics model?
A. The integrated delivery model PeaceHealth and Women’s Care will be implementing is different from the current Birth Center model in that midwives and doctors will be collaborating as part of the same team in the same location to deliver babies at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Focused on the future, we are currently in the process of defining what the low risk, midwifery model will look like at RiverBend with plans to create a more natural, comfortable setting. Under the future obstetrics model, PeaceHealth will not be limiting services or access currently provided by the Birth Center, but in fact hopes to expand its OB/GYN offerings to better meet the needs of the community.

We will be creating opportunities for community input on these decisions. With diverse community input from other key stakeholders, including patients, providers and midwives, we are excited to provide an integrated delivery model and a more comprehensive suite of birthing services that treats a broader cross-section of Oregon expectant mothers and that better reflects the current needs of our communities.

Q. Is PeaceHealth discontinuing the other critical services beyond deliveries that the Birth Center currently provides, including overall well-woman care, prenatal care, lactation support, postpartum care?
A. No. The valued well-woman care, prenatal and postpartum services and lactation support currently offered by the Birth Center will continue to be provided by PeaceHealth and Women’s Care or through other community partners. Women’s Care offers a full spectrum of care from adolescence through menopause including obstetrics, gynecology, reproduction and women’s health. Women’s Care also currently offers free lactation, birthing and newborn baby classes and will continue to do so. Learn more here

Baby Friendly-certified, Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend as well as the Birth Center will also continue to offer lactation support and other family-centered health-related services.

We are also exploring how to further expand and enhance these services, with the following currently under consideration:

  • Enhanced Women’s Health Programming
  • Developmental Pediatrics Expansion
  • Well Child Services Expansion
  • Maternal & Child Behavioral Health Services
  • Feeding Clinic Including Lactation Services
  • Parenting Support

To learn more about what services will be offered under our future obstetrics model, please click here.

Q. How will the closing of the Birth Center impact underserved, vulnerable women?
A. Women’s Care and PeaceHealth’s collaboration to transition services to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend will not impact access to care for the underserved and midwifery, prenatal and postpartum services will continue to be offered within the community.

We remain committed to ensuring continued access to care for all patients, and particularly those patients with Medicaid, CAWEM or without health insurance who rely on Community Health Centers of Lane County for their care.

Q. How was construction of the Birth Center funded?
A. We understand there has been some confusion regarding the donations used toward the construction of the Birth Center building. PeaceHealth Foundation created the Birth Center Fund in 2007 and received a total of $440,000 with approximately 200 separate donors as a one-time effort to build the facility in partnership with the medical center. PeaceHealth owned the Birth Center’s prior location and the proceeds of this sale also helped fund the new center.

PeaceHealth is proud to have partnered and invested with the community to fulfill the promise of the Birth Center for the past 10 years and we look forward to honoring the spirit of that vision through our future model of care. With diverse community input from key stakeholders including patients, providers and midwives, we are excited to provide an integrated care model and a more comprehensive array of services that treats a broader cross-section of expectant mothers and young families and that better reflects the current needs of our community.

It's also important to highlight that while deliveries will no longer occur at the Birth Center, the building itself will remain an important part of PeaceHealth’s service to Lane County through the delivery of family-centered, health-related services; the “what and how” is currently under active review and we welcome community input.

Q. Why has PeaceHealth not agreed to meet with the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center?
A. We have invited representatives of Lane County Friends of the Birth Center on several occasions, in conversations and in writing, to work with us to help identify what our future model of obstetrics care will look like, which they have refused. It’s our impression that they have been unwilling to meet because we are focused on moving forward and are not reconsidering our decision to cease deliveries at the Birth Center.

Focused on the future, we welcome community input on these decisions—the spectrum of services provided, what our in-hospital low-risk birth model will look like and how we will use the Birth Center building. To help accomplish this, we have formed an advisory committee representing key stakeholders including patients, providers and midwives. We are excited to provide an integrated delivery model and a more comprehensive suite of birthing services that treats a broader cross-section of Oregon expectant mothers and that better reflects the current needs of our communities.