Muscatine hospital will temporarily stop labor and delivery services; still serving expectant mothers

The Muscatine Trinity hospital will temporarily stop serving expecting mothers beginning...
The Muscatine Trinity hospital will temporarily stop serving expecting mothers beginning Friday. (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 10:44 PM CST
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The UnityPoint Health Trinity hospital in Muscatine released a statement on Wednesday that it will temporarily pause its labor and delivery services.

UnityPoint Health Trinity said it’s having trouble recruiting and keeping OB/GYN doctors in Muscatine.

The hospital is now suggesting moms go to Iowa City or the Quad Cities to get the care they need.

TV6 spoke to a Muscatine mother of four to get her thoughts on what this means for the community, since it is the only hospital in town that delivers babies.

“It’s stressful. It’s stressful to think that if I spontaneously go into labor I have to travel this far I have to be able to get there,” Alle said. “When you’re in active labor and you’re hitting bumps it makes everything so much worse, you’re driving down an interstate and you’re worried about literally everything under the sun.”

Allee said she is concerned for expecting mothers living in Muscatine.

“We have some low income individuals who can’t afford that long of a drive or don’t have access to a reliable vehicle to get them up there,” she said.

However, there’s not enough OB/GYN doctors left in Muscatine to continue serving expecting moms.

“I know that we have good doctors over the years and it's sad to see them go,” Allee said. “The good ones don’t tend to stay. They get a better opportunity somewhere else in a bigger town, clinic in an anywhere other than Iowa. The good ones go. The ones that stay don’t stay long. The turnover rate is crazy. It’s crazy.”

Below is the statement UnityPoint Health Trinity released on Wednesday.

“(Muscatine, IA – February 5, 2020) – In an effort to better serve the Muscatine community, UnityPoint Health® is announcing a temporary pause to its labor and delivery services at Trinity Muscatine hospital. The decision will allow leaders to explore potential opportunities to provide expectant mothers with better consistency in physician coverage and a quality health care experience they’re looking for. The pause in service will begin February 7. “We believe this is the right thing to do for our patients and our community. Like other health systems across the nation, we are challenged to recruit and retain OB/GYN physicians at rural hospitals. We want every mother to have a great experience they expect in UnityPoint Health and physician coverage challenges impact that. We expect this pause to be temporary while we continue conversations toward a long-term sustainable solution the community deserves,” says Robert J. Erickson, President & CEO, UnityPoint Health – Trinity. UnityPoint Health is currently working with other health care facilities to provide excellent care options for labor and delivery needs. Providers are working with expectant mothers to create and coordinate a personalized birth plan best suited to their needs. Some options include UnityPoint Health – Trinity’s BirthPlace in Bettendorf and Moline, and University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. These facilities also offer access to enhanced newborn care and 24/7 neonatology coverage. “We truly want what’s best for the people of Muscatine and that means making these types of decisions. This decision is not driven by financial gain. This is about how to provide a great experience for the people we serve so they can focus on what matters most. We hope to provide more information in the near future,” says Erickson.”