OCEANSIDE – A confluence of unfavorable circumstances and market changes has resulted in progressive erosion of Women and Newborn Service (WNS) lines across multiple organizations, including Tri-City Medical Center.
A notable negative contributor was a neighboring healthcare district’s well documented encroachment into the Tri-City Healthcare District boundaries and ensuing transfer of laboring mothers out of Tri-City’s district. The subsequent ratification of that decision by the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission, despite repeated warnings from the district of the dangerous consequences for laboring mothers and infants, has made the situation even more daunting.
Tri-City Medical Center now delivers less than one infant per day, on average. This has accelerated district financial losses to levels that are unsustainable, and it is the opinion of the administrative team that inaction will negatively impact other critical service lines.
As a result of these circumstances, the administrative team has pursued conversations with a variety of potential affiliate partners in search of a collaboration that would not only save but grow this service line.
Those discussions have been robust and have broadened to include consideration of more expansive affiliation opportunities. Unfortunately, it has become clear that a solution will require more extensive due diligence, along with continued dialog with internal and external constituents to assess community needs, both in terms of WNS and wider hospital operations.
In the absence of an imminent solution, the current and expected financial losses associated with continued operation of WNS, coupled with the progressive loss of staff necessary to continue operating the units, the administrative team must now recommend suspension of WNS, to include labor and delivery, postpartum and the neonatal intensive care unit.
If this decision is ratified by the Board of Directors, we expect final suspension of operations to occur no later than Oct. 1. A complete communications plan is in development for noticing the community and all relevant stakeholders.
While suspension of WNS is extremely difficult, the district remains optimistic that ongoing exploration of a collaboration or affiliation with a regional healthcare partner will allow Tri-City Medical Center to rebirth a more comprehensive, long-term, sustainable solution for WNS, much like the district was able to achieve in behavioral health culminating in the development of the Psychiatric Health Facility.
Submitted by Tri-City Oceanside Medical Center.