DPH says it can’t force Morton to keep maternity unit open – Taunton Daily Gazette

DPH says it can’t force Morton to keep maternity unit open – News – The Taunton Daily Gazette, Taunton, MA – Taunton, MA

TAUNTON — Despite intense scrutiny from the Department of Public Health, it appears Steward Health Care System has the final say regarding its decision to eliminate Morton Hospital’s maternity ward.

In a recent email to the Taunton Daily Gazette, a DPH spokesman notes that Steward’s “closure process” of an essential service — in this case Morton Hospital’s obstetrics and neonatal care program — “provides a mechanism” for DPH “to review a proposed closure or reduction in services at a hospital.”

He says he and other supporters of Morton’s obstetrics unit are now awaiting a DPH response to Steward’s most recent letter.

“They haven’t admitted anyone in at least a month,” he said.

Schildmeier said the maternity unit previously had a staff numbering at least 10.

Massachusetts Nurses Association spokesman David Schildmeier said that, for all intents and purposes, Morton’s obstetrics unit is no longer active.

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