On August 12th, 2013 the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced that it would suspend labor and delivery (L&D) services at North Central Bronx Hospital (NCBH) and move the doctors, nurses, and staff to Jacobi Medical Center (JMC). NCBH’s award-winning midwife-led program provided Bronx mothers with excellent quality of care and served as a training grounds for midwives across the city. As the only maternity ward in the Northwest Bronx corridor, NCBH is a vital resource for mothers in our community and saw over 1400 deliveries the year prior. The community and staff were only given two days’ notice about the closure and no opportunity to have their voices heard.
The suspension of L&D services at NCBH has meant dangerous consequences for low-income women of color and families across the Bronx. Left with no maternity ward in the Northwest Bronx, expectant mothers from our community are forced to take multiple buses to receive care at JMC–a full four miles away. NCBH’s 24-hour ambulance service to JMC has experienced delays en-route that have meant mothers have delivered in unsafe conditions. The increase in patients at JMC has put an additional strain on a medical center already stretched beyond its capacity. Our community cannot allow HHC to strip away vital services for some of its most vulnerable members–pregnant women and infants.
- A team-based, physician-led midwifery program will be restored to NCBH.
- HHC administration will meet with the community and staff at large “at regular intervals” and will include incoming Department Chairman Michael J. Zinaman. They will work with us to publicize these meetings in local newspapers and keep hospital staff updated about upcoming events and decisions.
- HHC administration will work with the community to organize an Open House event when the services re-open to ensure the community is aware of and oriented to the services.
North Central Bronx Committee partners: Choices in Childbirth; Commission on the Public’s Health System; Community Board No. 7; Community Power: North Bronx; Coordinating Prenatal Care Coalition; DC 37; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; New York State Nurses Association; Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership; Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition; SEIU-The Doctor’s Council; The Bronx Health Link; Women Organizing Neighborhoods