NCBH closes labor/delivery unit

Nurses and other protest move of labor and delivery unit at North Central Bronx Hospital to Jacobi.
Walter Pofeldt

The city’s North Central Bronx Hospital has shut its labor and delivery unit down as part of a consolidation move.

But the Health and Hospitals Corp. said the Norwood hospital will continue to provide all outpatient women’s health services, and that no jobs will be lost, with nurses and other unit staffers transferred to Jacobi Medical Center.

The closure announcement drew an immediate protest from the hospital’s nurses’ union and community leaders.

HHC said in a statement that some staff may remain at the Norwood hospital to work in the ambulatory OB/GYN or inpatient GYN service while others will be transferred to the consolidated labor and delivery services at Jacobi on Pelham Parkway.

It noted that in the last year, there were 1,500 deliveries at NCBH and about 1,900 at Jacobi.

With the consolidation move at Jacobi, it said “there will be sufficient capacity to handle the projected additional deliveries there.”

It did hold out one ray of hope that the plan might be revised or abandoned, stating: “Whether this consolidation should be temporary or permanent is under review. HHC remains firmly committed to NCBH’s essential role as a community hospital serving the Northwest Bronx.”

Unit staffers were informed on Friday, Aug. 9 of the closing and were instructed to report to the equivalent units at Jacobi that Monday.

At a Monday protest outside NCBH, hospital members of the New York State Nurses Association, the state’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses, were joined by City Council Member Leticia James, and other elected and community leaders to protest the units’ closing.

“The closing of NCBH’s perinatal units will take away access to labor and delivery services from communities in the Bronx. Expectant mothers will have to travel farther to deliver—and that could lead to complications,” the union said in a statement.

It said “This abrupt and dangerous decision” by HHC came “with no consultation with the community or patient advocates, nor any clear regulatory or legal basis with the Department of Health.”

HHC noted that by consolidating labor and delivery service to one campus at Jacobi, “we will be better able to target resources and ensure optimal staffing to provide the most comprehensive, safe and efficient model of inpatient obstetrical and gynecological care for our patients.”

It said that NCBH will continue to provide all outpatient women’s health services and “will connect pre-natal patients to Jacobi or other HHC or non-HHC hospitals to deliver their babies. We are committed to making this a smooth transition for patients and staff.”

Full ambulatory/outpatient obstetric (OB) and gynecological services (GYN) will continue at both hospital sites, it said, with NCBH patients will be able to continue receiving pre and post-natal care at NCBH, as well as inpatient gynecological services.

The NCBH emergency room will continue to treat GYN emergencies and urgent situations.

NCBH patients will be offered referrals to Jacobi Medical Center and other HHC and non-HHC hospitals for their labor and delivery.

It said a dedicated ambulance service will be made available to patients at no cost.

In addition, a free shuttle service between the two hospitals will continue to be offered to patients and staff.

Patients who need information were advised to call 718-519-2127 day or night.

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