Letters to the Editor on Solutions to Save NSBC, Track Record of Safety

Salem News >>>

Letter: Please find real solutions

8/8/2022

To the editor:

The “pausing” of closure of the North Shore Birth Center is not enough for the women of our community. As a pregnant person forced out of the Birth Center at 24 weeks, I’m calling on the hospital administration to re-admit those of us who wanted to give birth with the NSBC midwives.

I was originally so excited to give birth at the Birth Center, but just three hours after my 12-week appointment, I received notice that the NSBC was closing on Sept. 8, 2022. I was set to give birth there on Nov. 22 (or whenever this baby decides to come), so I was told I’d be forced to find “alternative care” outside of the NSBC.

My midwife advised me that the center that Mount Auburn in Cambridge has would be the next-best setting for me, so despite the fact that it’s a 45-minute drive (without traffic) from our home in Swampscott, I transferred my care there at 24 weeks.

Today, just three days after transferring my care, the Beverly Hospital administration announced that they would “pause” the closing of the Birth Center. However, Tom Sands, President of Beverly Hospital, announced that they would not allow patients who already transferred care to return to the Birth Center, even though we had no other option.

Today marks another backwards decision made by Beth Israel and Beverly Hospital. What is the point of keeping a Birth Center open but restricting pregnant people from using it?

Please find real solutions.

Andrea Amour,
Swampscott

Read more here

Letter: Birth Center has long record of safety

8/3/2022

To the editor:

The beloved North Shore Birth Center (NSBC), on the grounds of Beverly Hospital, has a 42-year record of safe, successful, unmedicated childbirth and why I am shocked and upset that this time-honored, birthing safe haven is slated to close in September. I began my career, as a certified nurse-midwife, at the NSBC. Thirty-seven years later, I am forever grateful to have practiced in a special and unique environment that felt more like a home than a hospital. Not just a facility; there is compelling research that shows lower-risk birthing people, who receive care at a birth center, have better maternal and newborn birth outcomes than does delivery in a hospital and at a much lower cost.

The only way to stop the closure of the NSBC, rests with BILH. That is why I am asking BILH to break their silence and engage in transparent communication and reverse their decision to close the NSBC. BILH holds the power to make this determination by which they stand to gain from maximizing the value of the NSBC for patients, apart from the hospital, by achieving the best birth outcomes at the lowest cost. Key community members and legislators are eager to work, at once, with BILH to solve the NSBC staffing problems.

BILH, you can turn this around and uphold your duty to protect and preserve options and choices for all birthing individuals and assure that the North Shore Birth Center and its model of care remains available now and into the future!

Michele Helgeson, DNP, MPH, CNM,
Sudbury

Read more here

Media Coverage: Beverly Hospital pauses closure of North Shore Birth Center, but it’s not saved yet.

Salem News >>

Beverly Hospital puts Birth Center closing on hold

August 4, 2022
By Paul Leighton

BEVERLY — Beverly Hospital announced Thursday that it is postponing its planned closure of the North Shore Birth Center.

In a letter to hospital staff, Beverly Hospital president Tom Sands said the hospital has decided to “extend the review process” and that “no further action will be taken toward the closure of the North Shore Birth Center while we extend the process.”

“Doing so will give us the opportunity to bring together leaders from Beverly Hospital, Beth Israel Lahey Health, state public health officials, local elected leaders and members of the community to further discuss the complex challenges associated with feasibly operating the NSBC for the long-term,” Sands wrote.

The announcement gives a least a temporary reprieve for the North Shore Birth Center, which hospital officials were planning to close on Sept. 8. The plan has prompted an outcry from the public and many public officials, who say the center and its midwives provide a unique and vital service for pregnant women and their families. The Birth Center is one of only two free-standing birth centers in Massachusetts.

Rebecca Hains, one of the leaders of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center, said Thursday she was pleased that hospital officials have agreed to slow down the process.

“I hope they continue to keep going down that pathway and find a way to keep the Birth Center open because it’s so valuable to the community,” Hains said.

Sands said in his statement that while the hospital is extending its review, it is not adding new patients or reinstating patients who left the Birth Center since the announcement of the planned closing.

Hospital officials have cited a shortage of midwives as the reason for closing the center, which opened in 1980 and has delivered more than 10,000 babies. In his letter, Sands said current patients of the Birth Center will continue to deliver at Beverly Hospital, as has been the case since January, and will be supported by Birth Center midwives in their post-partum care.

Sands said the decision to extend the review process came following recent conversations with leadership at the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Department of Public Health.

The agency was due to issue a ruling on the proposed closure after holding a public hearing in Beverly last month that drew 200 people, with more than 50 speaking out against the closure. The agency does not, however, have the authority to stop the closure.

The ruling would have to do with how patients would access the same services elsewhere if the Birth Center does close.

In addition to the grassroots campaign by citizens to save the Birth Center, which included a rally with more than 150 people outside the hospital in June and an online petition with more than 3,000 signatures, state and local officials have spoken out against the closing. In July, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton, of Salem, sent a letter to Sands urging him to keep the center open and requesting information about how the decision was made. They asked Sands to respond by Aug. 11.

In the letter, the lawmakers questioned why hospital officials announced their decision to close the Birth Center eight days after agreeing to a new contract that gave midwives a 27% raise.

Supporters of the Birth Center have cited several studies showing that giving birth at birth centers is both safer and less expensive than delivering in a hospital for people with low-risk pregnancies.

They say closing the center would particularly impact women of color, who face disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and morbidity.

Read more here

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Boston Business Journal >>

North Shore Birth Center pauses planned closure

August 4, 2022
By Cassie McGrath  –  Reporter, Boston Business Journal

Beverly Hospital has paused the closure of North Shore Birth Center. 

The center, which provides holistic maternal care and is located in its own building at the Beverly campus, will continue to serve Massachusetts families for at least another three months after announcing in May that it would close on Sept. 8

“Over the past several months, we have engaged with members of the community, held a public hearing and worked closely with patients to assure continued access to safe, high-quality women’s health services,” Beverly Hospital president Tom Sands wrote in a letter to his staff on Thursday.

Following meetings with the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Department of Public Health, Sands said the hospital decided to extend its review process regarding the closure for at least 90 days. BILH leadership will use that time to have more conversations with state public health officials, local elected leaders and community members to talk about the “complex challenges associated with feasibly operating the NBC for the long-term.”

“We are confident that these will be informative discussions that reflect a shared commitment to safe, high-quality maternal health care,” Sands said. “No further action will be taken toward the closure of the North Shore Birth Center while we extend the process.”

Beth Israel Lahey President and CEO Dr. Kevin Tabb said in a separate letter to EOHHS Secretary Marlou Sudders that no further decisions about NSBC operations will be made in the next 90 days.

Patients being served at NSBC will continue to deliver at Beverly Hospital, which has been the practice since January, and will be supported by midwives at the center for its postpartum care. 

Beth Israel Lahey Health, which owns Beverly Hospital, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The Campaign to Save North Shore Birth Center, a group that has advocated for the center to stay open since the closure was announced, called the pause a “great first step.”

“We look forward to a conversation focused on solutions. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure midwives and patients are being treated with dignity and respect and to preserve reproductive choice for Massachusetts families,” the campaign said in a statement sent the Boston Business Journal. “We hope these conversations with Beth Israel Lahey Health will begin quickly as pregnant patients continue to struggle to access the care and birth options they had chosen for their families.”

When Beverly Hospital announced that the center was closing in a letter to the Department of Public Health on May 11, the campaign quickly jumped into action with rallies and petitions alongside the Massachusetts Nurses Association. 

The MNA filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge against Northeast Hospital Corp., which runs Beverly Hospital, claiming that the hospital lied to nurses during contract negotiations, as the center announced the closure soon after reaching a new contract agreement with nurses. 

Beverly Hospital cited staffing shortages as the reason for closing, but the MNA argued that the new contract, which would have increased wages and benefits, could have helped boost staff levels. 

Soon after, U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, along with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, wrote a letter questioning if the hospital bargained in good faith and raised concerns that the decision to close was more focused on profits than on staffing shortages. 

“Beverly Hospital’s decision to close the birth center almost immediately after reaching a contractual agreement to increase wages for the nurses and midwives that work there casts doubt on whether leadership ever intended to effectuate the negotiated wage increases,” the letter read. 

Warren, Markey and Moulton also said that facilities like the North Shore Birth Center are especially effective for Black and Indigenous women, who face disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and morbidity.

“At its core, closing the North Shore Birth Center will deny women a choice in birth options and reproductive care, pushing patients away from more affordable, high-quality care into more expensive, hospital-based care,” the lawmakers wrote in its letter to Sands last month. 

The Campaign to Save North Shore Birth Center said it’s goal to for the center to re-open as a fully operational birth option for patients and a reproductive care center for women.

“We want midwives to be respected and treated as collaborative care partners. We want the hospital administration to provide the Birth Center with adequate operational resources to thrive,” they wrote. 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health acknowledged the closure’s pause in a letter to Tabb on Thursday and laid out the process Beverly Hospital has to comply to at this point. 

“The Executive Office of Health & Human Services, in coordination with DPH, looks forward to working with BILH and Beverly Hospital to engage stakeholders and representatives from the community regarding the future plans for the NSBC,” DPH wrote.

Read more here

WGBH.org >>

North Shore Birth Center to remain open for now

By Fernando Cervantes Jr.
August 5, 2022

The planned closing of the North Shore Birth Center is on hold. In June, Beverly Hospital, where the center operates, announced plans to close it in September, citing staffing shortages. The center has been open in Beverly for 42 years and is the last birth center operating in Eastern Massachusetts. The center’s midwives offer holistic prenatal and birth care.

In a letter to hospital staff Thursday, Beverly Hospital president Tom Sands stated the hospital’s intentions to “extend the review process” into the closure of the center.

“Doing so will give us the opportunity to bring together leaders from Beverly Hospital, Beth Israel Lahey Health, state public health officials, local elected leaders and members of the community to further discuss the complex challenges associated with feasibly operating the NSBC for the long-term,” he wrote in the letter.

When closing plans were announced in June, a large outcry from community members, including members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, followed.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted, “we should be using every tool available to expand & improve access to [reproductive] care — not slash it” and linked to a story about the planned closure. Supporters emphasized that the center was one of only a few places for low-cost midwifery-based births in the state, and the closure would disproportionately hurt low-income families and women of color.

Rebecca Hains, professor of media and communication at Salem State University and member of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center, gave birth to her first child there in 2008.

She attended the recent Department of Public Health hearing in July about the closure. “We have lots of testimony at this point from midwives who worked there previously, even former directors of the birth center,” Hains said about advocacy efforts to keep the center open.

Emilee Regan, spokesperson for the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center, said the pause is just the first step towards ensuring the center’s long-term presence.

“We want the birth center to be open to all patients, to be fully-staffed and to be fully-resourced. To pause the path forward to a closure is a great first step, but we have a lot of work to do,” Reagan said.

Read more here

Produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Becker Hospital Review >>

Massachusetts hospital pauses planned closure of birth center

Nathan Tucker
Friday, August 5th, 2022

Beverly (Mass.) Hospital is postponing the closure of the North Shore Birth Center, according to an Aug. 4 report from The Salem News. 

Tom Sands, Beverly Hospital president, said in a letter to hospital staff that the hospital has decided to extend the process and that “…no further action will be taken toward the closure of the North Shore Birth Center while we extend the process,” the letter said. 

“Doing so will give us the opportunity to bring together leaders from Beverly Hospital, Beth Israel Lahey Health, state public health officials, local elected leaders and members of the community to further discuss the complex challenges associated with feasibly operating the NSBC for the long-term,” Mr. Sands said in the letter.

Hospital officials initially cited a shortage of midwives as the reason for closing the birthing center, which was slated to close Sept. 8. 

Read more here

itemlive.com >>

North Shore Birth Center Gets Second LIfe

BY CHARLIE MCKENNA| August 7, 2022

BEVERLY — The North Shore Birth Center will remain open for at least the next 90 days, after Beth Israel Lahey Health, which owns Beverly Hospital, reversed course, postponing the planned closure of the center to give the hospital more time for conversations with health officials, elected leaders, and community advocates.

Plans to close the center, which serves the entire North Shore and is the last of its kind in Eastern Massachusetts, were announced in May, as BILH cited staffing shortages at the facility. Officials from across the region spoke out against the closure, which they said would have a disparate impact on low-income families who pay out of pocket for their care.

In a statement, Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson, who spoke out against the closure at a July 20 public hearing, said the delay was a needed step in the right direction. 

“Postponing the closure of the North Shore Birth Center is the right decision,” said Nicholson, whose son was born at the center. “Particularly given the state’s healthcare goals and the barriers to healthcare access in Lynn, we should be increasing access to community birth in the region, not taking it away.”

Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), said she and the rest of the North Shore congressional delegation worked hard to get officials to “press pause” on the closure of the Birth Center. 

“I’m very pleased to see they’ve pressed pause as we’ve asked them to do so that we can work together with the delegation with the hospital, with any of the communities, the advocacy community, to be able to come up with a plan. Maybe it isn’t reopened to birth in a year, maybe it might take two years, but when you apply for proposals to the DPH to essentially void that license. It’s game over,” Lovely said. “It doesn’t look like that we would be able to reverse that so very happy that Lahey Beverly has said we will press pause.”

Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), who joined Nicholson, Lovely, and other members of the North Shore congressional delegation at the July hearing, said there was a lot more work to do to help save the Birth Center.

Crighton said he looks forward to “working with advocates, public health officials, and the hospital” on this issue.

However, despite backpedaling on the center’s closure, hospital officials announced that the center would not be accepting new patients or reinstating former patients, a move that advocates said would render “the birth center closed from a patient’s perspective.”

Lovely said that policy did not concern her, as the center does not have the personnel to support accepting or reinstating patients.

“They literally don’t have the workforce personnel,” she said. “If they can’t provide the services, if they don’t have the personnel, then they can’t. That’s ok.”

While officials work to restore staff at the center, BILH intends to create a somewhat similar setting to the birth center inside Beverly Hospital, Lovely said.

“There are new mothers that want to have this option and we just can’t take that away from them,” she said. “They don’t have the workforce to deliver. So your option is to deliver in the hospital. They’re going to try to recreate a setting in the hospital in the interim and I’m very appreciative of that.” 

Rep. Jamie Belsito (D-Topsfield) said the birth center offers a wide range of reproductive health care services.

“When we take a look at how we take care of women, it is in a supportive, caring environment that when the senator, myself and subsequent other legislative leaders, sat at that DPH hearing. I have to be very frank, it was the first time I realized that the Beverly birth center wasn’t just a place I could have had my girls, which if I could go back I would. But I could have been receiving my own gynecological and reproductive health care at this facility, that if my girls, which I have a 12 and a nine-year-old, I would bring them there immediately,” Belsito said. “They do full spectrum care for women, and there were women there well into their 60s talking about how they continue to receive their health care from this facility.”

“This is a fully supportive environment where women can go and they can receive their reproductive care,” she said.

Read more here

3 Ways You Can Help Save the North Shore Birth Center

Many people across the country want to know how to help stop the closure of the North Shore Birth Center. Below are three key ways we can use your help today!

1. JOIN US on Wednesday, July 20, 6pm EST at the public hearing in Beverly, MA

On Wednesday, July 20, the Department of Public Health is holding a public hearing on the closure. You can consider sharing testimony related to the impact the closure of the birth center will have on community health or just attend to stand in support. The hearing begins at 6PM at the Vittori Rocci Post in Beverly, and we will gather at 5PM outside the building to show our support for

2. EMAIL Kevin Tabb, President and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Ask Kevin Tabb to PAUSE the closure of the North Shore Birth Center, to COMMIT to following evidence-based maternal health practices in BILH’s community hospitals and to IDENTIFY SOLUTIONS that will keep the North Shore Birth Center open. Kevin.Tabb@BILH.org

3. SHARE the video below with your friends, family and neighbors.

We need our community to understand that there is a difference in the care provided at the North Shore Birth Center, and that difference matters to the health and wellbeing of parents and babies. Any opportunity to share this video via social media or in your private conversations can have a positive effect on building awareness in the community.

Read past posts about the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Read about our June rally to Save the NSBC and the media coverage that followed here.

Read the media coverage about the letter that our US Senators wrote to Beverly Hospital requesting a halt of the closure here.

More Media Coverage to Stop Closure of North Shore Birth Center

Media Coverage in Boston Business Journal >>

Mass. lawmakers want Beverly Hospital to hit pause on plan to close North Shore Birth Center

By Cassie McGrath
Jul 13, 2022, 9:00am EDT

US Senator Elizabeth Warren AFP/Getty Images/File

Three Massachusetts lawmakers are asking Beverly Hospital to delay the closure of the North Shore Birth Center, saying the hospital is more focused on padding its profits than caring for patients and staff.

“We urge you to prioritize the livelihoods and expertise of your nurses and midwives, and the care and well-being of your patients, and, at minimum, to delay the closure of the Birth Center while you carefully consider other alternatives,” U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Ed Markey, D-Mass.; and U.S. .Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., wrote in a letter sent to Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands.

The three Democratic legislators also sought answers about the process that led to the hospital’s decision to close the birth center.

Read the letter sent from our US Senators to Beverly Hospital on July 12, 2022 here.

North Shore Birth Center, a facility run by Beverly Hospital, provides individual, holistic health care to people with low-risk pregnancies, offering an alternative to a traditional hospital setting. It has offered affordable birthing options and reproductive care since 1980.Over the past 42 years, nearly 10,000 babies have been delivered there, according to the lawmakers.

Beverly Hospital, which is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, cited ongoing staffing shortages as the reason for closing the birth center.

“The health and safety of our patients is at the heart of everything we do. Based on ongoing staffing issues, we have made the difficult decision to close the Birth Center early this fall on Sept. 8, as we have determined that it is no longer possible to sustainably operate this program in the long term,” Dr. Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals said in a statement in early June.

Timeline raises questions
However, activists for the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center told the Business Journal last month that the reasoning behind the decision was murky. Shortly before the closure was announced, the hospital and the state nurses union had reached an agreement that would have increased nurses’ salaries and given them better health insurance benefits. Those changes would have attracted new staff and alleviated the shortage, the activists argued.

The union, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, filed an unfair labor practice charge against Northeast Hospital Corp., which runs Beverly Hospital, accusing the provider of lying during contract negotiations. The union claimed that the hospital representatives had assured them the center would remain open. But on May 11, only eight days after reaching an agreement, the hospital sent a letter to the state Department of Public Health to submit a formal 90-day notice of the proposed closure.

“The fact that the corporation agreed to those increases for that purpose, making no mention of a coming closure, only to then close the service immediately after the nurses ratified the agreement, is a disservice to the entire community, as well as the nurses who have served the community with distinction for years,” MNA said.

The Massachusetts lawmakers expressed concern in their letter that Beverly Hospital did not bargain in good faith.

“Beverly Hospital’s decision to close the birth center almost immediately after reaching a contractual agreement to increase wages for the nurses and midwives that work there casts doubt on whether leadership ever intended to effectuate the negotiated wage increases,” the letter read.

Fair care
Children will still be born at Beverly Hospital after the planned closure, but patients will lose the option for a holistic alternative to the traditional hospital birth setting, raising concerns about access to affordable and effective care. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission wrote in a January 2022 report that midwifery care leads to improved patient outcomes and lower spending for patients. Warren, Markey and Moulton said facilities like the North Shore Birth Center are especially effective for Black and Indigenous women, who face disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and morbidity.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, according to research cited by the lawmakers, and that 60% of pregnancy and birth-related maternal deaths are preventable. In Massachusetts, Black women are almost twice as likely as white women to die during pregnancy or in the first postpartum year, according to the lawmakers. That’s why the birth center is an “essential resource” for women of color on the North Shore, they argued in their letter.

“At its core, closing the North Shore Birth Center will deny women a choice in birth options and reproductive care, pushing patients away from more affordable, high-quality care into more expensive, hospital-based care. Though Beverly Hospital has promised to transfer certain services (e.g., birthing tubs) from the Birth Center, advocates maintain that the services and level of personalized care offered at the Birth Center are not replicable in a hospital setting,” the letter read.

“These findings suggest that Beverly Hospital’s decision to close the birth center may more likely be driven by profit-seeking than staffing shortages,” the letter read. “Given the unique services offered at the Birth Center, we are concerned that Beverly Hospital does not appear to have considered viable alternatives to the closure.”

Acknowledging the impact of the birth center and the allegations made regarding the bargaining with the MNA, Warren, Markey and Moulton also requested more insight into the decision to close the hospital and into the closure’s repercussions. The letter asked Beverly Hospital to provide, by Aug. 11, more information about:

When Beverly Hospital began internal discussions about the closing of the birth center,
If the hospital assured the MNA during negotiations that the facility would remain open right before it announced the closure,
If Beverly Hospital considered alternative options to closing the birth center,
Whether the hospital’s leadership weighed the cost of services for a birth at the center compared to the hospital,
Demographic information, by race, on the number of maternal deaths and complications per 100,000 live births that occurred at Beverly Hospital and the North Shore Birth Center.
Emily Broderick, a member of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center who received care for all three of her children at the center, told the Business Journal that the campaign is going to attend a Department of Public Health meeting on Wednesday, July 20, to continue advocating for the center to remain open.

Meanwhile, with the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, health experts expect an influx of patients with high-risk pregnancies to Massachusetts.

“It would look like a win-win to continue caring for low- and moderate-risk patients out of the hospital where fewer interventions are needed,” Broderick said.

Cassie McGrath
Reporter
Boston Business Journal

For more media coverage of our Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center, read this post.

Salem News >>

Warren, Markey, Moulton urge hospital to delay Birth Center closure
By Paul Leighton | Staff Writer Jul 13, 2022

BEVERLY — U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, along with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, have sent a letter to Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands urging him to delay the planned closure of the North Shore Birth Center and requesting answers about when and why hospital officials made the decision to close the facility.

In a letter sent on Tuesday, the lawmakers asked Sands why hospital officials assured the nurses union during contract negotiations that it would not close the Birth Center, only to announce the planned closure eight days after the union approved a new contract that gave midwives a 27% raise.

“This raises suspicions that if Beverly Hospital made this commitment during bargaining, it misled its employees and did not bargain in good faith,” the letter said.

Beverly Hospital officials announced in May that they plan to close the North Shore Birth Center on Sept. 8. The decision sparked a campaign that has included a rally outside the hospital and an online petition with more than 3,000 signatures. A state-mandated public meeting on the closure is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20, at 6 p.m. at the Vittori-Rocci Post in Beverly.

In their letter, Warren, Markey and Moulton asked Sands to respond to several questions by Aug. 11, including asking for an exact date when the hospital began internal discussions about closing the Birth Center. If the date was before May 3, when the new contract was approved, they asked why the hospital assured the Massachusetts Nurses Association during negotiations that the center would not close. If it was after May 3, why did the hospital make the decision in such a short time frame, given that the closure was announced on May 11, the lawmakers asked.

The letter also asked if the hospital considered other options to closing, and what options currently exist to keep the center open. It also requested data comparing the average cost of labor and delivery services for a birth at the Birth Center and Beverly Hospital, and on the number of maternal deaths and major complications per 100,000 live births that occurred separately at the two locations since Jan. 1, 2009.

The North Shore Birth Center opened in 1980 as a free-standing facility on the Beverly Hospital campus. It is staffed by midwives and has helped deliver nearly 10,000 babies. Beverly Hospital, which is owned by Beth Israel Lahey Health, has said it cannot continue to operate the center due to a shortage of midwives. But the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which has filed an unfair labor practice over the decision to close the center, has said the 27% raise under the new contract was specifically designed to recruit and retain the staff needed to keep it open.

Warren, Markey and Moulton wrote that the hospital’s decision to close the Birth Center almost immediately after agreeing on a new contract “casts doubt on whether leadership ever intended to effectuate the negotiated wage increases.” They also said the decision “may more likely to be driven by profit-seeking than staffing shortages.”

The letter said the Birth Center’s closing would particularly impact Black and Indigenous women, who face disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. Black women in Massachusetts are almost twice as likely as white women to die during pregnancy or one year postpartum, the letter said, citing Massachusetts Department of Public Health statistics.

“The Birth Center is thus an essential resource for women of color in North Shore communities like Salem and Lynn who are seeking nearby midwifery care,” he letter said.

Sands, who is also president of Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, said in an email to The Salem News that hospital officials appreciate Warren, Markey and Moulton’s “engagement” and “share their dedication to assuring that our community has access to high quality women’s health services.”

“We look forward to continuing our dialogue with them about the care and services Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals provide to our communities,” Sands said.

Read more here

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Becker’s Hospital Review >>

Massachusetts lawmakers urge hospital to keep birth center open
Hayley DeSilva – Friday, July 15th, 2022

Beverly (Mass.) Hospital is being urged by members of Congress from Massachusetts to hold off on closing its birth center, according to a July 13 announcement on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s website

Ms. Warren is one of the lawmakers who sent a letter to Beverly Hospital President Tom Sands asking him to reconsider closing its North Shore Birth Center, along with Sen. Ed Markey and Rep.House Representative Seth Moulton. The letter asks for a response from the hospital by Aug. 11. 

Following midwives and nurses continuing to deliver babies at the risk of contracting COVID-19  during the pandemic, the Massachusetts Nurses Association sought negotiation for its contract with the hospital. The MNA and Beverly Hospital were able to come to an agreement that included a 27 percent wage increase for hospital birth center staff. At that time, Beverly Hospital assured the MNA it had no plans to close its birth center.

However, eight days later, the hospital announced it would close the center, arguing that the wage increase that was supposed to help hire and keep nurses hadn’t solved the center’s ongoing staff shortage. 

“Beverly Hospital’s decision to close the Birth Center almost immediately after reaching a contractual agreement to increase wages for the nurses and midwives that work there casts doubt on whether leadership ever intended to effectuate the negotiated wage increases,” the lawmakers shared in their letter. “At its core, closing the North Shore Birth Center will deny women a choice in birth options and reproductive care, pushing patients away from more affordable, high-quality care into more expensive, hospital-based care.”

Ms. Warren has made several efforts during her time in the Senate to protect maternal healthcare, most recently by introducing the Mamas First Act in April, which seeks to increase Medicaid coverage to include midwifery care such as doulas or tribal midwifery. 

Read more here.

More Letters to the Editor

Pushback against plans to close North Shore Birth Center

Letters to the editor of The Boston Globe:

Given data on midwifery, hospital’s decision is bad policy

I was disappointed to read that Beth Israel Lahey Health is closing the North Shore Birth Center. As a recent patient at the birth center (I had my baby there in October), I found this news distressing. For 42 years, thousands of parents have received exemplary care at the center, where they are empowered to decide how and where they give birth. The hospital’s decision robs parents of that choice. Worse, the decision is bad policy.

Recently, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission noted that midwives deliver “improved patient outcomes and lower spending,” addressing “ongoing equity concerns surrounding birthing.” Nationally, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently found a modest increase in the use of midwives could save $4 billion and improve health outcomes, and that midwives “result in fewer preterm births and fewer episiotomies.” More midwives attending births is a textbook win-win.

Beth Israel Lahey Health’s decision contradicts policy recommendations and common sense. The hospital cited staffing shortages at the birth center, but I find that to be a thin excuse for closing it. Beth Israel Lahey Health must explain why it undervalues the history of the North Shore Birth Center and ignores recommendations that suggest that midwives improve care and save money. The data are clear: We need more midwives, not fewer.

Brittany Kenny Gomes

Beverly

Facility offers an option that must remain available

Anyone who supports reproductive rights should oppose the impending closure of the North Shore Birth Center (“Cuts to maternal health ignite anger,” Metro, June 14). The birth center is the only place most Massachusetts residents can seek an out-of-hospital birth without paying out of pocket. It is also one of the only places where patients can fully experience the midwifery model of care.

I struggled with infertility before conceiving through in vitro fertilization. After years of stressful and traumatic medical appointments, it was healing to receive care at the North Shore Birth Center rather than at a traditional doctor’s office or hospital. I was also able to have a water birth at the center, which would have been prohibited at Beverly Hospital.

If my wife and I are blessed with a second child, I hope the birth center will be open. As stated in Kay Lazar’s article, more patients are opting to give birth at the center. We cannot remove this option for anyone, especially marginalized people who may not receive adequate care in a hospital setting and cannot afford a home birth. Let’s send a strong message to Beth Israel Lahey Health: This community needs the North Shore Birth Center.

Rebecca Haley-Park

Read more.

Rally to Save the North Shore Birth Center: Media Coverage and More!

Protesters gather at the Rally to Save the North Shore Birth Center at Beverly Hospital on June 13, 2022.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at today’s rally, and who offered support in so many other ways as we called on Beverly Hospital to keep the North Shore Birth Center (NSBC) open. Approximately 200 people gathered in solidarity, waving signs and chanting in protest of the Hospital’s short-sighted decision to permanently close NSBC.

A range of elected officials–from Beverly city councillors to Salem’s mayor to state representatives and senators–offered remarks, as did and patients and partners, who spoke to the importance of the North Shore Birth Center in their families’ health and well-being.

Applause all around to those who engaged in this powerful community event. More to come! In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some of today’s media coverage.

The Boston Globe: “Cuts to maternal health services ignite protest”
The cuts come as lawmakers killed proposals linked to improved maternal care for people of color by Kay Lazar

BEVERLY — Amid chants for choice and justice, some 200 grandmothers, parents, and their sign-waving children rallied Monday outside Beverly Hospital to protest the impending closure of the facility’s North Shore Birth Center, the last operating, free-standing center in Eastern Massachusetts.

The planned closure, slated for September, was announced last month by Beth Israel Lahey Health, which cited staffing shortages at the 42-year-old center. The loss has raised concerns about dwindling access to maternity services, particularly for low-income families and women of color.

“It’s a huge hit to the quality of care patients are receiving,” Emilee Regan, a Swampscott mother of three who had one of her children at the birth center, said at Monday’s protest. She said the pre- and post-partum care by staff in its intimate setting is more robust and attentive than at a hospital.

“As we look around to the other challenges to reproductive choice … and the timing against the national landscape, this seems so troubling to us,” she said.

While the nation awaits a Supreme Court decision on the future of abortion rights, patient advocates are furious that in addition to the impending birth center closure, Massachusetts lawmakers recently sent several proposals to the legislative graveyard that would have expanded access to maternal health services.

Some of the proposals, advocates said, would help narrow the wide racial gap in maternal deaths, which are nearly three times higher among Black women nationally than among white women. In Massachusetts, state data indicate that Black women are about two times more likely to die during pregnancy or within one year post-partum compared to white women.

In the past 12 years, seven hospital maternity units have closed across the state, including three in the past three years in Southeastern Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

The North Shore Birth Center, run out of a cottage on the grounds of Beverly Hospital, offers women with low- to moderate-risk pregnancies an option of delivering their babies without drugs to induce labor and control pain or machines to monitor the process.

Data from Beth Israel Lahey Health show that while births at its Beverly Hospital declined slightly over the past three fiscal years, deliveries at its birthing center actually increased. […]

After the rally Monday in Beverly to save the North Shore Birth Center, state Senator Joan Lovely, a Beverly Democrat, said she and several colleagues plan to meet Friday with Beth Israel Lahey Health administrators to suggest the company hold off permanently closing the center and instead shut it temporarily while trying to beef up staffing.

“Smart people can sit in a room and figure this out,” Lovely said. “Because right now this looks like another assault on women’s rights to make their own medical decisions.”

Read more here.

GBH News: “Activists rally to save the North Shore Birth Center — again” by Kana Ruhalter

In 2008, weeks after Dr. Rebecca Hains had her first child at the North Shore Birth Center, she was shocked to hear that its board of trustees was seeking to close the clinic. Hains saw it as a call to action and led a successful grassroots campaign that played a role in preventing the closure. Now, 14 years and two more children for Hains later, the birth center is once again set to shut down.

Hains, a professor at Salem State University, again stood on the front lines of a community protest on Monday in front of Beverly Hospital alongside roughly a hundred supporters of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center.

Beverly Hospital announced plans last month to permanently close the center on Sept. 8 after 42 years in operation, citing a staffing shortage. The decision sparked backlash from members of local government and the community, who worry the closure will have a disproportionate impact on low-income families, and take issue with the center’s claim of low staff.

Hains said there are no other options for midwifery-based birth centers in eastern Massachusetts, and the North Shore center is home to the vast majority of birth center births in the commonwealth. “There would be disparate impacts on folks who pay out of pocket for childbirth because it is a low-cost option,” Hains told GBH News.

Beverly’s nine City Councilors all signed a statement in support of the birth center last week, writing that its closure would disproportionately affect those looking for an affordable option, as well as Black and Indigenous women who are at an increased risk of complications around maternal care.

“This is a community issue,” City Council President Julie Flowers said to the group of protesters. “It’s gonna take a community to be together, to care for one another, and to continue to do this good work.”

Read more here.

WBZ News Radio 1030: “Residents Protest North Shore Birth Center Closure At Beverly Hospital” by Karyn Regal

BEVERLY, Mass. — Following an announcement from Beth Israel Lahey Health and Beverly Hospital last month, dozens of protestors gathered outside on Monday in opposition to the North Shore Birth Center’s closure after its 42 years in service.

Protest advocates say the NSBC is a midwifery practice that has provided an out-of-hospital birth choice and health care setting, supporting the birth of nearly 10,000 babies since 1980.

WBZ’s Karyn Regal attended the protest outside Beverly Hospital, where demonstrators held signs that read ‘our community needs a birth center,’ and ‘save the NSBC.’ United States Representative Seth Moulton, State Senator Joan Lovely, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll made appearances at the event in support of the protest.

“There’s really no place like it,” said Brittany, a mother who had her baby born at the NSBC. “The midwives are just kind and generous and it’s a very, very different experience from birthing in a hospital. The hospital is really clinical and at the birth center, they believe birth is a natural process.”

“Why would anyone want to take this option away? We need this choice— if that is what women want,” said Judy Maxfield, one of the first nurses to work at what would become the NSBC.

Read more and listen to Karyn Regal’s report here.

CBS News Boston / WBZ 4: “Group hoping to save North Shore Birth Center rallies outside Beverly Hospital”

BEVERLY – Demonstrators rallied outside Beverly Hospital Monday afternoon, protesting plans to close the North Shore Birth Center there. Organizers say the center is a vital part of maternal care by offering the choice of a safe delivery with a midwife outside a hospital setting.

“If we don’t take care of moms and babies there will be no us,” said State Rep. Jamie Belsito. “The Birth Center is part of that. It’s part of healthy, non-invasive, safe, equitable care and that is so important.”

Watch the coverage (0:55 spot) here.

The Boston Business Journal: “Activists fight planned closure of Beverly Hospital’s birthing center” by Cassie McGrath

Activists are fighting back against the planned closure of the North Shore Birth Center at Beverly Hospital after 42 years, calling the facts around the decision “murky.”

On Monday at noon, members of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center will gather outside Beverly Hospital to rally against the closure.

In a statement about the closure, which was announced in early May, the chief medical officer at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals said that ongoing staffing shortages forced the decision to close the birth center as of Sept. 8.

“The health and safety of our patients is at the heart of everything we do,” but the hospital has “determined that it is no longer possible to sustainably operate this program in the long-term,” said Dr. Mark Gendreau.

The center aims for a different experience from giving birth in a hospital setting, offering holistic, individualized health care to people with low health risks, according to the hospital’s website.

On May 11, the hospital, which is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, sent a letter to the Department of Public Health on submitting a formal 90-day notice of the proposed discontinuation. In the weeks since the announcement, a group called the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center has gathered a signatures of 2,000 community members opposed to the closure.

Emily Broderick, a campaign member who received care for all three of her children at the center, said that hospital’s reasoning for closing “seems to be a little bit murky.”

“The hospital has cited staff shortages for the decision. However, from what we understand, that is not the complete truth,” she said.

There was an agreement between the hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association which would have given nurses at the birthing center improved health insurance benefits and salary increases of up to 27% to better align with the market. Negotiations concluded on May 3 with a vote to approve the contract. The announcement of closing the birth center happened exactly a week after that agreement was passed, Broderick said.

In response to the closure, the MNA had filed a Unfair Labor Practice Charge against Northeast Hospital Corp., which runs Beverly Hospital. The complaint accuses the hospital of lying to nurses in contract negotiations regarding the termination of the midwifery program.

MNA said they believe management wasn’t forthcoming about its plans to close the center, and was “outraged” to hear the announcement after months of negotiations aimed at recruiting and retaining staff needed to keep the service open.

“The fact that the corporation agreed to those increases for that purpose, making no mention of a coming closure, only to then close the service immediately after the nurses ratified the agreement is a disservice to the entire community, as well as the nurses who have served the community with distinction for years,” MNA said. “The nurses are moved and gratified by the community’s effort to rise up to support for this important and essential service.”

Read more here.

The Salem News: “More than 150 rally to keep North Shore Birth Center open” by Paul Leighton

BEVERLY — More than 150 people, from pregnant women holding toddlers to children carrying signs, gathered outside Beverly Hospital on Monday afternoon for a rally to save the North Shore Birth Center.

Chanting “Save Our Birth Center, Save Our Choice,” and “Beverly Hospital, Do Better,” the crowd urged hospital officials to reverse their decision to close the North Shore Birth Center. The protestors got a boost from several politicians who spoke at the rally, including Congressman Seth Moulton, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, state Sen. Joan Lovely, and state Reps. Jamie Belsito, of Topsfield, and Paul Tucker, of Salem.

Speaking to the crowd through a bullhorn, Moulton called the gathering “a massive turnout.”

“This shows how important this issue is to the North Shore,” he said. “We live in a nation, in a national climate, that is taking away choice for women, that is taking away choice for mothers. We do not need that to happen right here on our home turf.” 

The rally was the the first public demonstration since Beverly Hospital announced last month that it plans to close the North Shore Shore Birth Center on Sept. 8, citing a staffing shortage. The announcement has prompted an organized effort to stop the closing as well as an unfair labor practice charge and a grievance filed by the union representing the midwives who work at the Birth Center. All six midwives will be laid off, according to the union.

Kaitlyn Krauskopf, a Swampscott resident who attended the rally with her 2½-year-old son, said she was “devastated” by the news of the closing. Krauskopf is 22 weeks pregnant and was a patient at the Birth Center. She said the closing forced her to seek alternatives and she is now planning on a home birth.

“I’m here because I believe women deserve a choice in where they give birth and how they give birth,” she said.

‘Tone deaf’

Belsito, the state representative from Topsfield who is also the founder of the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, said the closing is coming at a time when state government is advocating for more birth options for women as an issue of racial equity. She said the state Legislature recently approved funding for a new birth center in Dorchester.

“This is very tone deaf of them to shut down the only option (of its kind) in the entire 6th (Congressional) District,” Belsito said.

Lovely, who is the Senate chair of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators and the Commission on Postpartum Depression, said the state is in a “maternal health crisis.” She said access to birth centers results in lower C-section rates, fewer preterm births, and fewer emergency department visits.

“These outcomes cannot be ignored,” Lovely said. “We need this birth center.”

Several speakers talked about their experiences at the Birth Center. Danette Siegel of North Andover said the midwives helped her through three pregnancies and saved her from at least one C-section.

“They stood up for me,” she said. “They advocated for me and they knew what I wanted and they trusted my body that it knew what it needed to do.”

Tucker said his two grandsons were born at the Birth Center, while Salem School Committee member Manny Cruz said his daughter was born there during the pandemic.

“I know what this place means to families, what it means to mothers, what it means to fathers,” Cruz said. “And I hope that I can have my next baby right here. We need to do all we can to save the North Shore Birth Center for our families and for our children.”

Read more here.

Politico: The LG race finally lives up to the hype by Lisa Kashinsky

…Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Rep. Seth Moulton and state Sen. Joan Lovely participate in a “Rally to Save the North Shore Birth Center” at noon outside Beverly Hospital. [source]

The Salem News: Union files grievance over midwives at Birth Center by Paul Leighton

BEVERLY — The Massachusetts Nurses Association has filed a grievance over Beverly Hospital’s plan to lay off six midwives as part of its decision to close the North Shore Birth Center.

The union says the hospital plans to lay off the union midwives who work at the Birth Center but continue to offer midwife-assisted births at Beverly Hospital using non-union midwives. The MNA says that is a violation of the nurses union’s contract with the hospital.

A spokesperson said Beverly Hospital officials had no comment on the grievance.

Beverly Hospital announced last month that it plans to close the North Shore Birth Center on Sept. 8. The hospital said it cannot keep the center open due to a lack of staffing caused by the nationwide hospital staffing shortage.

As part of its grievance filing, the MNA included a letter by hospital officials informing patients that it will partner with a number of practices that offer midwifery services at Beverly Hospital. The grievance said that violates a “no subcontracting” article in the union’s contract with the hospital.

The Beverly Hospital nurses union, which includes the midwives, approved a new contract on May 3 that gave midwives raises as high as 27%. Eight days later the hospital announced its plan to close the Birth Center.

Read more here.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS

Wicked Local: “Photos: Rally to Save the North Shore Birth Center at Beverly Hospital”


13 photos by David Sokol available here.

Marilyn Humphries: “Residents Protest North Shore Birth Center Closure at Beverly Hospital”

24 photos by Marilyn Humphries available here.

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Aerial pic of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center’s June 13, 2022 protest, attended by approximately 200 supporters.

Beverly City Council calls upon Beverly Hospital to reverse decision to close North Shore Birth Center

On June 7, 2022, the nine members of Beverly City Council co-signed a public statement on Beverly Hospital’s announced intent to close the North Shore Birth Center (NSBC). In the statement, the councilors “call upon Beverly Hospital to reconsider its proposed plan to discontinue outpatient Birth Center care,” and notes that NSBC “provides an important resource for our community and surrounding area and is in line with our commitment to work to improve equity and access in all areas of our community.” Citing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health’s call for more free-standing birth centers in Massachusetts, the Councilors note, “Beverly Hospital is well-poised to lean into this call and to be a leader in this work, by supporting the North Shore Birth Center now and into the future, rather than closing it.”

The members of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center are grateful to the Councilors for their public statement and support.

Beverly City Council Public Hearing Update

On Monday, June 6, 2022, Susannah Ketchum Glass delivered her statement on behalf of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center to Beverly City Council. The full text of her remarks, as well as video footage (captured beginning with the bold text below), follow.

Good evening, Council President Flowers and Council Members.  

My name is Susannah Ketchum Glass, and I live here in Beverly. I teach at Endicott College and I also work as a birth doula, supporting parents across the North Shore and Boston. I’m the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, all of whom were born under the expert care of midwives.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to address the Council this evening on behalf of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center. And I’m here tonight to ask for this body’s help.

We are a coalition – 1,200 members strong and growing every day — of patients, community members, professionals, and advocates fighting to protect and increase access to birth choice and reproductive care provided by the certified nurse-midwives of the North Shore Birth Center.

The North Shore Birth Center is the last fully operating birth center in eastern Massachusetts. Located on the Beverly Hospital campus, the birth center has a 42 year track record of providing safe, affordable care that is rooted in evidence-based practices for patients with low- to moderate-risk pregnancies. Since 1980, the North Shore Birth Center midwives have supported families in welcoming nearly 10,000 babies to our community. 

Study after study has demonstrated the following:

That Birth center care is evidence-based and consistently provides good health outcomes, with fewer complications than hospital deliveries for lower-risk patients.

That Birth center care is associated with reduced racial and ethnnic disparities in perinatal outcomes. 

AND That Birth center care is cost-effective, with births at a birth center costing, on average, 21% less than births in a hospital.

These facts, alongside the most recent recommendations from the Health Policy Commision for how the Commonwealth can improve maternal health outcomes and lower health care costs, point to the need to invest in birth centers, NOT close them. 

The impact that the North Shore Birth Center has had on the lives of its patients is equally profound. Hundreds  of people have written in to our campaign, detailing their own birth experiences:

One woman who birthed her baby in the tub at the Birth Center wrote: I would describe my birthing experience at the center as peaceful, intimate and empowering. It was everything I hoped my first birth experience would be. I took great comfort in the care and professionalism shown by all of the midwives during my prenatal visits and my labor.

Rebecca wrote: This is a time when women’s bodily rights are being severely threatened. I am so grateful to have had the midwives at North Shore Birth Center help me feel empowered even with a surprise induction at the hospital. Women deserve to make choices for themselves and have their desires respected when bringing life into this world. That’s what the midwives do so well.

Michele wrote: Our youngest was born at NSBC, in water, in late 2018 and I wish I knew better and had my first there as well. Such a big difference between a hospital birth vs. the care you receive from the midwives. It would be a tragic loss to the community if it were to be closed. 

Laura wrote: My daughter was born at the hospital with NSBC midwives.  She was transferred to the NICU in Boston but I received a check-in call from the North Shore Birth Center every day until she came home, 9 days later.  I’ve never been treated so compassionately in medical care.  

And finally Jill, who summarized her own experience with this statement: 

However a birth goes, I think we all can agree: Women. Deserve. Choices.

On May 11, Beverly Hospital and Beth Israel Lahey Health announced plans to close this incredible resource. It provided only the minimum notice to patients as required by law. It did not consult with the community or engage external partners to explore alternatives to closure. 

The hospital has cited pandemic-related staffing shortages as the reason for closure. We believe this is a short term problem that can be solved, should the hospital choose to provide competitive wages and a positive work environment for certified nurse midwives. Our group has committed to supporting the hospital in identifying solutions … by providing resources, suggesting qualified and experienced candidates, and offering access to national and local partners who have proven the feasibility of this model. We have asked the Hospital to pause the regulatory process toward closure while it explores these options. 

The City of Beverly does not have regulatory authority over Beverly Hospital, but the hospital IS an institutional member of our community with a responsibility to act in the community’s best interest and in the interest of public health. They should be held to a high standard when it comes to engaging their community in decisions that will have detrimental impacts. They should be held accountable when they prioritize profits over birthing people and their families. 

Your voices as our elected officials matter. 

We believe there are three ways you can help:

  • Call on Beverly Hospital and Beth Israel Lahey Health to make the socially responsible choice and reverse its decision to close the birth center.  
  • Ask your state partners – our legislators, the Department of Public Health, Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders – to intervene on behalf of our community and work with Beth Israel Lahey Health on an alternative solution that protects access to choice in reproductive care. 

AND

  • Join us on Monday, June 13th, from noon-1 at Beverly Hospital for a community rally to save the North Shore Birth Center. Our voices are stronger together. 

The North Shore Birth Center is a community treasure. Families from across Massachusetts and New England have come here to our city to seek out its unique offerings for more than 42 years. It is a place where patients are respected and given a choice in their health care and birth options, and a place where miracles happen. We must save it. 

Thank you. 

Beverly City Council to hear Campaign concerns at Monday meeting

On Monday, June 6 at 7 p.m., Beverly City Council will receive public comments from a representative of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center, conveying our concerns with and opposition to Beverly Hospital’s plan to permanently close the NSBC in Sept. 2022.

In addressing City Council on the campaign’s behalf, campaign member Susannah Ketchum Glass will ask for the council’s partnership in saving NSBC.

Later in the evening, the councillors will consider order #175: Public Statement of Support for the North Shore Birth Center, sponsored by President Flowers and Councilor Rotaldo.

As the birth center is the only practice of its kind in the region, its closure would have serious negative consequences. It would eliminate families’ access to birth-center-based midwifery care, which study after study has show is the safer, more equitable, and more cost-effective choice for people with low-risk pregnancies.

The time is now for Beverly Hospital to reverse their decision and prioritize retaining the NSBC, given its 42-year track record of success in following evidence-based best practices for lower-risk pregnancy and childbirth.

We are grateful to City Council for their consideration of order #175.

You can show your support for our presenter and for order #175 by attending the meeting at 191 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA or contacting the councillors in advance of their meeting.

The relevant portions of the agenda are excerpted below. The full agenda is available here.

Stay Connected with the Campaign!

Our grassroots campaign to save the North Shore Birth Center (again) is underway, and we want to stay in touch with you! Please consider connecting with us as follows:

  1. Complete our Volunteer Form, letting us know what kinds of actions you’re available for (attending a rally? letter-writing? signing a petition? etc.) and how to reach you.
  2. Subscribe to our web site updates by email! Go to our main page, or scroll to the bottom of this post, and enter your email address in the text field to the right of the “SUBSCRIBE” button. WordPress will email you whenever we post, so you don’t miss a thing.
  3. Become a member of our Save the North Shore Birth Center Facebook group and join the discussions there!