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Nurses upset Redmond Family Birthing Center may close


The St. Charles Redmond Family Birthing Center could be on the verge of shutting down, but before any final decision, the nurses who work there are speaking up.

The Oregon Nurses Association union held a community meeting Monday evening in Redmond to discuss why they believe the birthing center is so important.

St. Charles Health System recently confirmed it’s considering a proposal to close the center by merging it with the Bend facility, to cut costs.

The nurses who work at the Redmond birthing center said not only would it affect their jobs, but it would have a trickle-down effect, putting more pressure on the Redmond emergency room and first responders.

Nurses Amber Loredo and Allie Anderson, both of whom work at the center and have had babies there, said shutting down the facility would be a mistake.

“I myself have delivered seven children there, and I keep going back because I love it,” Loredo said. “I had four children there before I was a nurse and I had three afterwards, and I would not have changed anything. You feel safe, you fell respected you feel communicated with. We just have a different feel and offer a wider variety of practitioners.”

Anderson added, “Having a newborn baby is exciting, but it can be stressful if it comes in the back of a car, so it’s something that needs to be local, and it’s not a service that should be taken out of a small community.”

The room for the community meeting was packed with fellow nurses and others who support Redmond keeping the birthing center.

According to St. Charles, the proposal would merge the Redmond Family Birthing Center into the Bend facility. The proposal is set to be brought in front of the hospital’s board of directors for approval by the end of October.

A St. Charles official said Monday that the merging of the two would be a cost-saving measure, as both birthing centers operate at under 50 percent capacity most of the time.

Jeff Absalon, the chief physician executive with St. Charles, said no jobs would be lost if the Redmond center is closed.

“St. Charles’ commitment is that no employees would lose employment at St. Charles from this or other improvement events like this,” Absalon said. “So we are committed to our people. The location of people’s employment may change, the exact duties may change. But we are committed to our employees and committed that no one will lose their employment as a direct result of this.”

Absalon added that if the birthing center is closed, the organization will still continue prenatal services in Redmond.

If it’s approved, the changes are set to go into effect by the middle of next year.

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