Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Darby, Pa., will stop accepting new obstetrical patients immediately and close obstetrical services by Aug. 1, eliminating 30 jobs. The program has suffered from low volume for the past five years with less than two deliveries a day. Losses in 2003 are projected at more than $2.5 million following five years of similar losses, officials said. The closing comes about one year after Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia shut down its inpatient obstetrical services, blaming medical liability insurance costs and low reimbursement. Officials said Mercy Fitzgerald this year is similarly challenged by a nursing shortage, increased supply costs, a threatened cut in state funding, and a severe statewide shortage of obstetricians. The number of women of childbearing age in its service areas has decreased by 2% each year, while women age 45 to 65 are its fastest growing segment. Mercy Fitzgerald is part of five-hospital Mercy Health System, a member of Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa. -- by Cinda Becker
Pa. hospital to shut down obstetrical services
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