Bonner General closing obstetrics department
March 17, 2023
"Staff are not being fired-they are being given other options," a staff member said. "There are also current plans in place to provide safe care for OB patients. There are a multitude of reasons for this decision; pediatrics coverage, OB coverage (neither are easy to get because of Roe v Wade reversal and strict Idaho laws), then funding. There's so much assumption and gossip right now and it's only going to hurt a struggling health system."
With the closure, the nearest hospitals to Boundary County offering obstetrics services are Kootenai Health, Coeur d'Alene, about an hour and a half away, and Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, Libby, about an hour away.
This afternoon, the BGH Senior Leadership Team; Sheryl, Tracy, John, Dr. Stacey Good, Shannon and Julie, released the following:
You may have heard by now that we are discontinuing Obstetrical Services at Bonner General Health.
Deciding to discontinue delivering babies at Bonner General Health has been a challenging, emotional, and not an easy decision to make. The Senior Leadership and Board of Directors have made every effort to avoid eliminating these services, but we have been forced to make them for the following reasons:
Loss of Pediatrician coverage - Without pediatrician coverage to manage neonatal resuscitations and perinatal care, it is unsafe and unethical to offer routine Labor and Delivery services; despite our best efforts over months of negotiations. In May, our inpatient pediatric services will no longer be consistent and reliable. BGH has reached out to other active and retired providers in the community requesting assistance with pediatric call coverage with no long-term sustainable solutions. Our low patient volume is insufficient to attract candidates for pediatric hospitalists, and we cannot afford to continue having locum tenens physicians.
Volumes and changing demographics – The number of deliveries at BGH has continued to decrease yearly. We delivered 265 babies in 2022 and admitted less than ten pediatric patients for other reasons. There are many reasons, including a nationwide decrease in births, an older population moving to Bonner County, and Kootenai Health having a new, updated unit with Neonatologists and OBs in-house 24/7.
Idaho's legal and political climate - Highly respected, talented physicians are leaving. Recruiting replacements will be extraordinarily difficult. In addition, the Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care. Consequences for Idaho Physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines.
Unfortunately, due to these challenges, discontinuing Labor and Delivery is a growing trend for rural communities. We hoped to be the exception, but our challenges are impossible to overcome now.
Moving Forward - Patient safety comes first which is at the center of this decision. We will continue to provide women's health services at Sandpoint Women's Health and to collaborate with Kootenai Health to provide OB care in our community.
• Sandpoint Women's Health will not be accepting new OB patients effective immediately. A referral list is attached for your patients and will be available at bonnergeneral.org.
• Bonner General Health is making all attempts to continue deliveries here at the hospital through May 19th. However, our ability to provide service is dependent on staffing. All updates will be communicated as quickly as possible if this date changes.
• The BGH team will coordinate care for Sandpoint Women's Health OB patients scheduled to deliver in May and after.
• Lastly, thank you all, for the decades of partnership and entrusting your patient's care with the outstanding Obstetricians and Labor & Delivery staff we have on our team.
The closure of obstetrics will not be an easy transition for our Bonner General Health teams or our community and surrounding area.
Questions or Comments? Send us an email!
"Staff are not being fired-they are being given other options," a
staff member said. "There are also current plans in place to
provide safe care for OB patients. There are a multitude of
reasons for this decision; pediatrics coverage, OB coverage
(neither are easy to get because of Roe v Wade reversal and strict
Idaho laws), then funding. There's so much assumption and gossip
right now and it's only going to hurt a struggling health system.”
I would love an expose on how the reversal of Roe v Wade and strict Idaho laws created a shortage of OB medical professionals? I also thought Obamacare and the expansion of Medicare in Idaho was going to solve these issues?
Seems no matter how much they socialize medicine, or how much freedom we take away from patients and doctors, the system that is designed to fail keeps failing.
OBGYN Doctors and Nurses bring life into the world, it is the notoriously low qualified staffed at agencies like Planned Parenthood that have a history of enriching themselves preying off of desperate women selling body parts to the highest bidder and changing the practices of killing the unborn child in order to cater to the clients wish list of tissue they want to purchase.
Mike Weland, Publisher
6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
A 9B Media LLC publication
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