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Citizens want birthing center kept open in Rensselaer County

Sep 19, 2023 12:57 am

Rachel Silberstein reports in the Times Union that dozens of people testified in favor of keeping the Burdett Birth Center at Samaritan Hospital in Troy open at a public hearing on Sept. 18 at Russell Sage Bush Memorial Center. If the center closes, there will be no birthing services in Rensselaer County, and there are already no birthing services in Greene or Columbia counties. Zanetta Gary with the Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition said, “The closure of Burdett Birth Center is not just going to create issues in this community, but it’s going to exacerbate existing issues.... Anyone with any exposure to public health ... knows that Black women are in danger and this closure is only going to further that.” The state Department of Health must sign off on the planned closure of the center at the end of the year. Officials with St. Peter's Health Partners say the birthing center is losing $2.3 million annually. A 2020 merger by the hospital eliminated services such as tubal ligations and vasectomies at Samaritan Hospital, but also had officials promising other services would remain. Attorney General Letitia James said at the hearing, “We must address the fact that the closure will break a promise made to the community at the time of the original merger.... Promises to their community, to their donors and to my office. Promises about the level of care that will be provided. The closure would not only undermine this process, but it may very well erode trust in the hospital system altogether.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.