Expectant mothers in the Keokuk area will soon have to look elsewhere when the big delivery day arrives.
Keokuk Area Hospital announced Friday that it will suspend obstetrical services, including labor and delivery, postpartum and the Tri-State Medical Group's Women's Health Center. That move becomes effective April 15.
In a news release issued by Duane J. Fitch, President of Fitch Healthcare and Walt Stephens, Chairman of the Keokuk Health Systems Board of Directors, Keokuk Area Hospital says it has experienced "significant declines in patient volumes for these services."
All women planning to deliver by April 15 will still receive complete services, including nursing, pain management and physician care, according to the release. During the next 30 days, staff at the Women's Health Center will reach out to patients to transition their care to other providers.
The hospital says the moves allow a focus of its resources on "high demand, high quality, healthcare services that serve the greatest needs of our community residents."
The release states Dr. Robert Lorey and Dr. Eloise Skelton will continue to serve patients at KAH until April 14.
"It's too bad really, and it's here for a good reason, and it's going to leave a lot of people left hanging I think," said Jessica Miller.
Miller drove all the way from Kahoka to bring her daughter to the Women's Health Center.
Miller says for years she's depended on the Health center to provide her family with care.
And with just one month to find a new health care provider, she has no idea where to turn.
"It is going to be stressful trying to figure out where to go and what to do now," said Miller.
Hospital officials say they're closing the health center's doors because of a significant decline in patients over the past five years.
Because of the closure, expectant mothers will have to look elsewhere for delivery and postpartum needs.
Keokuk resident Amanda Boike says all seven of her children were born in the Women's Health center.
She's frustrated she could be losing the doctor who's taken care of her kids all their lives.
"It upsets me for the simple fact that he is a caring doctor, and you don't find those too many places," said Boike.
Boike says it will not only be difficult for her to find another doctor, but for other families in the community.
"I don't think it's right, I feel like the community is taken from us here in Keokuk, for the people that's on medical and they can't get out of town, it's going to be hard for everybody. It's not fair," said Boike.
The moves comes a little more than a month after two dozen KAH employees were laid off. (Read: Keokuk Area Hospital lays off 24 employees) The hospital has been dealing with financial issues for several years due to lacking Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
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