Inpatient labor and delivery services at Rainy Lake Medical Center are suspended effective April 15.
“The decision to stop delivery services at RLMC was not made lightly, and with the current event of the pandemic of COVID-19 and lack of OB coverage, this has become a reality for our region,” said Robb Pastor, RLMC CEO. “We have explored every opportunity to find a successful solution for this vital service line. Our patients’ safety and the best overall practices of OB are RLMC’s priority.”
In order to ensure that patients are able to establish prenatal care locally, Dr. Scott Johnson and OB- GYN providers from Sanford Health will be seeing patients at Rainy Lake Medical Center. This will allow expectant mothers in the community to work with a provider of their choice to develop a birth plan.
Declining births in Koochiching County, cost of 24/7 surgical coverage and shortage of physicians have been an ongoing battle for not only RLMC, but most rural hospitals in the country. A release said statistics show that over half of rural hospitals across the U.S. have discontinued OB delivery services due to the same challenges.
In efforts to consolidate and reserve resources, RLMC will be suspending Littlefork clinic operations effective Monday.
"We will revisit re-opening at a future date," officials said in a news release.