Hutcheson to suspend labor and infant delivery services

Hutcheson to suspend labor and infant delivery services

December 18th, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local - Breaking News

Hutcheson Medical Center Board Chairman Corky Jewell, center, addresses members during a joint hospital board meeting at Hutcheson on Wednesday in Fort Oglethorpe.

Photo by Maura Friedman/Times Free Press.

The Hutcheson Medical Center building in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Hutcheson Medical Center trustees voted Wednesday night to suspend all labor and delivery services on Dec. 31 - which will involve cutting staff - as a part of the troubled hospital's strategic plan to "return the hospital to profitability."

"Suspending Hutcheson's labor and delivery unit is a very difficult decision and one that we do not make lightly," Corky Jewell, Chairman of the Board, said in a prepared statement.

Labor and delivery services lose approximately $2 million dollars annually, hospital officials said, and that the hospital has seen a steady decrease in births over the past 12 years as Chattanooga hospitals have become more competitive.

Interim CEO Farrell Hayes said 37 employees will be impacted by the suspension of services, though qualified employees will be offered comparable positions currently open in other parts of the hospital.

Employees not offered a job with Hutcheson will be offered a severance package.

For more information, check back to timesfreepress.com and read Thursday's Times Free Press.