Monday, January 5, 2009

Open Letter to PeaceHealth Board of Directors

Following is the open letter submitted today to the PeaceHealth Board of Directors by Lane County Friends of the Birth Center. The many wonderful letters of support sent by moms, dads, grandparents, friends and professionals were submitted, as well. It's not too late to add your letter of support - the more letters, the better! Click here to learn more.

January 5, 2009

An Open Letter to the PeaceHealth Board of Directors:

This letter is intended to register deep and widely-felt concern by the Birth Center’s support network of women, families, friends and community supporters that this community asset will not be relocated to its updated facility near RiverBend as planned for Spring 2009. Friends of the Birth Center asks that the PeaceHealth Board of Directors provide the necessary leadership to evaluate and invigorate efforts made thus far in order to get the Birth Center back on track for a 2009 opening.

In light of today’s economy, PeaceHealth must inevitably grapple with complex choices affecting the Birth Center. As the 22 attached letters of support attest, the birth experiences and related excellent outcomes associated with Birth Center care make it worthy of priority status in the eyes of the community. This anecdotal support is all the more powerful because it describes a facility fully in line with recommendations for effective mother-child healthcare delivery - including those recently released by the National Priorities Partnership, a diverse group of national organizations including the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. (Sacred Heart Medical Center received its Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission.)

In the more than 20 years of its existence, local families have birthed 5600 babies with Birth Center assistance because its services are consistent with PeaceHealth’s vision that individuals “receive safe, evidence-based compassionate care: every time, every touch.” Among these families are our community’s most vulnerable parents, many of whom are seen at the Prenatal Clinic, which is staffed by the Birth Center. PeaceHealth care for these families is given regardless of ability to pay. For families welcoming children and for our community that benefits when its families have a strong start, the Birth Center midwives, lactation consultants, nurses and support staff exemplify PeaceHealth’s core values of respect, collaboration, stewardship and social justice.

Local commitment, stellar performance and an irreplaceable role in ensuring access to quality care are, hopefully, sufficient grounds for the Birth Center to be a prized local treasure meriting cultivation and protection as PeaceHealth faces difficult times ahead. Without the Board’s committed leadership, the current “behind-schedule” scenario could quickly devolve into inaction and failure. Please do not allow this outcome but rather build on the positive steps already taken to designate a site and secure building permits for the new birth center. Continue PeaceHealth’s sensitivity and long-term commitment to providing options in childbirth by taking the following next steps:

  1. Make a public statement of support for the Birth Center’s relocation in 2009
  2. Meet with Lane County Friends of the Birth Center in January. If this is not possible, please meet with us in February
  3. Evaluate efforts to date and correct them to reflect a successful 2009 Birth Center opening near RiverBend
  4. Visit the Birth Center to see firsthand what a positive reflection it is on the services offered by PeaceHealth in this community

Thank you for your consideration – Lane County Friends of the Birth Center looks forward to hearing from you and working with you toward an end worthy of our community!


Katharine Gallagher, Eden Cronk, Karen Guillemin, Elly Vandegrift, April Hartley, Renee Bailey, Kirsten Hughes, Jena Price,
The Steering Committee of the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center

encl: letters of support

cc: Lane County Friends of the Birth Center blog

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