The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Archive for the ‘media attention’ Category

Northeast Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees Approves
Plan to Continue Birth Center Operations, But Questions Remain

BEVERLY, MA (December 16, 2008)—In response to the Board of Trustees of Northeast Hospital Corporation announcement that they have approved a plan to keep the North Shore Birth Center (NSBC) open, members of the Campaign to Save the NSBC are cautiously pleased by this major victory on behalf of mothers, fathers, babies, and the North Shore population. Beverly Hospital has listened to the will of the community, and the Campaign applauds their decision insofar as it relates to keeping the NSBC operational.

However, the Campaign members decry the lack of transparency and lack of direct communication that has been the hallmark of the Board’s and the Hospital administration’s actions since the threat to the NSBC was brought to the attention of the public.

“Although hospital administrators had promised to more openly communicate with us, we learned of this decision indirectly, from the press,” explains Campaign leader Rebecca Hains. “Furthermore, although hospital administrators agreed to meet with representatives of our campaign, they have repeatedly rescheduled that meeting, and they arrived at this decision without having the conversation we were promised. Therefore, many of the community’s concerns and questions remain unanswered.”

For example, the Campaign is concerned by the portion of the Hospital’s announcement that appears to add a new constraint to NSBC deliveries: In their statement to the press, the Hospital notes hat patients will receive fetal monitoring, although the precise type of monitoring remains unclear. Patients birthing at Beverly hospital are subject to electronic fetal monitoring, an unproven and essentially unnecessary technology. NSBC patients have always received intermittent fetal monitoring by handheld Doppler, as is recommended as the best practice by the American Association of Birth Centers and many leading academic studies.

The Campaign urges the Hospital to allow the NSBC to continue using intermittent fetal monitoring, rather than subject women seeking natural childbirth to the restrictive and problematic electronic fetal monitoring system.

In fact, prior to this decision, the Campaign and several experts in the field of maternity care have provided information to the Board that demonstrates that there is NO evidentiary basis for requiring electronic fetal monitoring and that the practice has NO proven benefit but, rather, great potential for harm because it leads to higher cesarean-section rates. Furthermore, the Campaign feels very strongly that every woman who gives birth at the NSBC must have complete freedom to make an informed decision about whether or not she will agree to or opt out of electronic fetal monitoring.

“Instead of choosing to move all births to the hospital, the board has voted to move aspects of the hospital to the NSBC. I am concerned that, although they heard the community’s message: ‘Keep the birth center open,’ they missed the underlying reasoning: we want an alternative that is different!” says Campaign Steering Committee member Sarah Shamel.

Furthermore, the Campaign is concerned that the NSBC will be at risk of losing its accreditation by the highly-respected Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (“CABC”) if electronic fetal monitoring is required. The Campaign is also greatly troubled about the possibility of additional limitations being imposed on the NSBC in the future.

Although the Board may have come to a decision, the Campaign remains intent on meeting with interim CEO Henry Ramini, Chief Operating Officer Pauline Pike, and Vice President Chip Payson on December 18, as previously scheduled, to make sure that the voice of the community is heard by its local hospital and to demand increased transparency in hospital decision-making.

Media inquiries should be directed to Christa Terry at christadterry at gmail dot com.

The North Shore Birth Center is in jeopardy!

There is a very serious move to close the North Shore Birth Center, a midwifery practice situated on the campus of Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, November 18, 2008, the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation considered the proposal to close the Birth Center. During that early-morning meeting, nearly 200 people–adults, children, and babies–bundled up against the cold and held a rally. This rally advocated for the same things as previous efforts, which included a letter-writing campaign, daily picketing, and an open letter to the Board:

  1. A delay of the vote on the Birth Center’s fate, since such an important decision with long-term consequences for our community should not be rushed, and
  2. A meeting between community members and the Board of Trustees, to seek more transparency about the Hospital’s concerns and to open some dialogue that would allow the community–which had thus far felt silenced by hospital administration, which refused to communicate with representatives of our campaign–a real voice in this decision.

Featuring energetic speakers, colorful signs, and lots of cheering, the rally outside of Beverly Hospital made headlines: All the major Boston television stations, newspapers, and radio stations covered the story.

Several hours after the Board of Trustees met, the hospital released the following four-sentence statement.

The Board of Trustees takes its responsibilities to this organization and to the community very seriously.

Consistent with other birth centers around the nation, the North Shore Birth Center is experiencing a significant rise in the cost of malpractice insurance premiums.

The Board of Trustees is diligently weighing the impact that the closure of the Birth Center would have on the community; the level of community interest in its continued operation has not gone unnoticed. The Board intends to leave the Birth Center services unchanged while it continues to examine and discuss this important issue.

In other words, our rally and other efforts were a success! The Board of Trustees recognized the need to move slowly and give the proposal full deliberation.

However, we are not out of the woods yet. As the Boston Globe points out, this statement “ma[kes] it clear that the center’s future is still very much in question.” We still need your help!

Help us save NSBC!

The members of this group are against this proposal and want the Board of Trustees to vote against it. Women deserve to choose the birth experience that is right for them and their families. We ask the Board of Trustees to refrain from making a decision that would deny this choice to families of the North Shore.

NSBC is one of only two birth centers left in the entire state of Massachusetts! Let’s work together to protect it!

ABOUT THE NSBC: Established in 1980, the North Shore Birth Center has facilitated the births of over 6,000 babies to women with “low-risk” pregnancies seeking a natural childbirth. We want the North Shore Birth Center to continue offering quality, compassionate care in an alternative birth setting.

Join the Campaign to help us make our case to the Board of Trustees and hospital administration.

We are now in the process of planning Phase Two of our campaign. We will update this page with information on how you can help as soon as possible. In the meantime, see these links to learn more about our efforts:

Ongoing initiatives:

How to stay informed:

Media coverage:

Blogging coverage:

Please note: The members of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center are not affiliated with the North Shore Birth Center or Beverly Hospital. We are consumers who care passionately about NSBC!

Last Update: Wednesday, November 21, 9:09 a.m.

It’s been so wonderful to read all of the letters of support pouring into the local newspapers. As much as the campaign loves media coverage in the form of newspaper articles, the letters you’ve written really help to raise awareness in the larger community. After all, who doesn’t like reading the letters section of the paper?

Here are some highlights, all from recent editions of the Salem News.

From Robin E. Rubin, MSN, CPNP:

Our community is so lucky to have not only the exceptional midwives who practice at the North Shore Birth Center, but the facility itself.

The North Shore Birth Center is more than just an “alternative” building to deliver babies. It is truly an extended family of dedicated certified nurse midwives, support staff, and other like-minded parents. I truly believe that if the North Shore Birth Center is no longer allowed to birth babies, these mothers are not going to willingly go to Beverly Hospital to birth instead. They will choose home birth. I know I will.

From Eileen Tran:

Every woman chooses to deliver her baby differently and there is no “right” way that works for all. I hope that the Northeast Health Corporation will continue to give the women of the North Shore the option to deliver their babies in the best way for them.

Please continue to support births at the Birth Center as a safe option to the women of the North Shore.

From Jennifer Barrows Fox:

Without the North Shore Birth Center, many women may choose to labor at home and not have access to the clear thinking and quick action that the midwives used to get my son breathing quickly enough to avoid any long-term damage.

I ask the Beverly Hospital trustees to vote to allow the Birth Center to continue to offer labor and delivery at the center. It would be a shame for women to lose the North Shore Birth Center as an option.

A photog from the Globe came out to yesterday’s lunchtime picketing session, and the picture she took is in today’s Boston Globe along with an accompanying article written by Kay Lazar and Steven Rosenberg.

Here’s a highlight:

The controversy comes amid a larger debate in the medical and legal communities about maternity care and high medical malpractice insurance premiums paid by hospitals and doctors. Concern about malpractice lawsuits has prompted physicians nationwide to become hyper-cautious, and that has driven up the numbers nationwide of more controlled, caesarean section births.

But C-sections can expose women to serious complications, according to studies cited in a Nov. 11 letter to trustees and cosigned by Eugene Declercq, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

“Defensive practices in obstetrics unfortunately have encouraged practices that evidence shows are harmful or provide no benefits,” stated the letter, which urged board members to keep the center open.

The MOMformation blog at BabyCenter has picked up our story!

A spokesperson from the birth center stated that “As with other birth centers around the nation, North Shore Birth Center is experiencing a significant rise in the cost of malpractice insurance premiums.” It appears that this is what’s driving the discussions of possible closure.

How important is it to you that facilities like the North Shore Birth Center are available to women? Is this a cause that you would support – if not in-person, than via the social networking tools that are available to us now?

Drop by BabyCenter, read the post, comment on it, and let jamie lee know that we appreciate her sharing our story!

The North Shore Birth Center is in jeopardy!

There is a very serious move to stop all births at the North Shore Birth Center, a midwifery practice situated on the campus of Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts.

On November 18, 2008, the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation will consider a proposal to no longer allow women to labor or birth at the Birth Center. (This proposal did not originate from the Board; it is being brought before them by hospital management.) If the Board approves this proposal, all birth center patients would be required to labor and birth at Beverly Hospital.

Help us save NSBC!

The members of this group are against this proposal and want the Board of Trustees to vote against it. Women deserve to choose the birth experience that is right for them and their families. We ask the Board of Trustees to refrain from making a decision that would deny this choice to families of the North Shore.

NSBC is one of only two birth centers left in the entire state of Massachusetts! Let’s work together to protect it!

ABOUT THE NSBC: Established in 1980, the North Shore Birth Center has facilitated the births of over 6,000 babies to women with “low-risk” pregnancies seeking a natural childbirth. We want the North Shore Birth Center to continue offering quality, compassionate care in an alternative birth setting.

Join the Campaign to help us make our case to the Board of Trustees. More information will be available as we receive it!

Please note: The members of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center are not affiliated with the North Shore Birth Center or Beverly Hospital. We are consumers who care passionately about NSBC!

Last Update: Wednesday, November 19, 9:05 a.m.


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