McDonald: Burdett closure plan shatters St. Pete’s credibility

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There’s another push to prevent the closing of the Burdett Birth Center.

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The Save The Burdett Birth Center Coalition rallied at the Empire State Plaza on Thursday afternoon, outside State Department of Health headquarters.

The rally coincided with a meeting organized by Cohoes Assemblyman John McDonald, a meeting that included his brother, NYS Health Commissioner James McDonald, along with Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, Senator Jake Ashby, Albany Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

McLaughlin also issued a statement Thursday saying “there has been no rationale advanced to justify the closure,” adding there’s been nothing else proposed that would do anything but hurt county residents.

Assemblyman McDonald did not mince words expressing his displeasure with the plan.

“As a practicing Catholic, I am troubled with the fact that a Catholic-based institution and I am engaged in a battle to keep birthing services open in the Capital Region,” the Cohoes Democrat stated, “I am very troubled by this. What troubles me most, it’s an institution I’ve respected, but now their credibility is shattered.”

Demonstrators on Thursday were echoing McDonald’s sentiments.

“It would be a shame, a travesty, and devastating to close Burdett Birth Center,” said Zanetta Graham, a member of the Upper Planned Parenthood staff, who gave birth to her daughter at Burdett, “the people who have always paid for these decisions will be the same people who pay, brown women, black women, and low income people.”

“The proposed closure for Burdett Birth Center is an outrage,” asserted Starletta Smith, Director of the YWCA of the Capital District, “It’s despicable and it will literally threaten the lives of women and babies.”

“Health care is a human right,” stressed Mark Emanation, Executive Director of the Capital District labor Federation, “There should be no profits involved in this thing. When they say it’s not cost effective, they mean it’s not profitable.”

Protestors are calling on St. Peter’s Health Partners to keep the hospital open.

The coalition is arguing that the hospital could close the center without input from the public, which would harm those patients dependent on the care provided at Burdett.

The coalition is made up of organizations across the Capital Region, including the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, The Doula Network of the Capital Region, Birthnet and more.

From the office of St. Peter’s Health partners CEO came this statement:

Following the announcement of the proposed closure of the maternity unit at Samaritan Hospital, there has been a lot of discussion in the community, with concerns expressed about the continuity of prenatal care, access to delivery services, and St. Peter’s Health Partners’ plan in Troy.

Recent conversations with local community members and political leaders have led to St. Peter’s Health Partners’ decision to voluntarily engage an independent entity to perform an impact assessment for this proposed closure. In the coming weeks, we will be working with the state Department of Health on the process of hiring a firm to conduct the assessment, and identifying necessary participants. As this has never been done previously in New York State, we will be working closely with the department and the community to ensure transparency and engagement.

It’s important to remember the great bulk of care provided to women bearing children is delivered in the prenatal and postnatal setting. We want to assure the community that prenatal and postnatal care will continue without interruption in Troy and Rensselaer County. Our patients do not need to find new providers or practices; we remain committed to continuing those services.