Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition releases its report

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The proposed closure of the Burdett Birth Center at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, the only birth center in Rensselaer County, is facing fierce opposition.

“It will increase maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and there’s no way to mitigate that harm,” said Tisha Graham, member of the Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition. Graham is also a certified professional midwife, doula, and childbirth educator.

The Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition released its health equity impact assessment Tuesday. St. Peter’s Health Partners released its report Monday.

“Both conclude that there’s no way to mitigate the harm that will be caused by closing the Burdett Birth Center. Vouchers that allow women to take buses and taxis across the river in labor, trying to move this midwiffery model and plunk it down in the center of St. Peter’s Hospital, none of these things are valid mitigators,” said Graham.

According to Save Burdett, the birth center serves a large share of low-income people, with 55% of births there covered by Medicaid.

St. Peter’s assessment, done by an independent agency, reported the maternity unit has been operating with growing losses annually.

It also outlined concerns about the proposed closure: a strain on local EMS, transportation barriers, and how well other hospitals might absorb more maternity beds.

Monday, St. Peter’s announced the proposed closure is delayed and is now slated for no later than the end of June.

“We’re really hoping that the time now that Burdett will remain open, St. Peter’s Health Partners uses that time to look into other alternatives with regard to funding,” said Graham. “That they reevaluate their decision to close the birthing center, and that they realize and recognize that the community is not going to sit back quietly and let this birthing center close without a really strong fight.”