Monday, April 20, 2009

Birth Center Status Update - Things are looking good!

On April 10th, Lane County Friends of the Birth Center steering committee members met with Mel Pyne, CEO of PeaceHealth’s Oregon Region. Last week, post-meeting communications continued. We are now able to offer an update. Please feel free to share feedback at

Campaign Update

PeaceHealth continues to progress toward its two conditions for building the new Birth Center. The PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation has reached 90% of the $750,000 goal and the outlook for the sale of the current facility continues to be positive. Progress made since the beginning of the year reflects an extraordinary degree of energy and creativity on the part of PeaceHealth.

Celebrating Progress
During Mother’s Day weekend, PeaceHealth will host an intimate dedication or blessing at the site of the future Birth Center at RiverBend. A public groundbreaking will be scheduled to coincide with the start of construction, most likely in July. With Mel Pyne and other PeaceHealth leaders, donors, Birth Center staff and the LaneCoFBC steering committee in attendance, the May event is an important precursor to the public groundbreaking.

Interim Planning

As momentum builds for relocation, LaneCoFBC anticipates the possibility of the Birth Center becoming “homeless” at some point during construction. We brought this up during the April 10 meeting. While aware of our preference for a temporary freestanding facility, PeaceHealth views this as unrealistic due to difficulties in meeting the numerous code requirements including fire, safety and ADA.

Should the Birth Center become homeless, PeaceHealth would most likely move its services and staff inside the hospital. LaneCoFBC expressed deep, heartily felt concerns that any moves inside not become pretext for staying inside. We were roundly reassured that this would be a short-term plan necessitated only by construction of the new Birth Center. We were further assured the Birth Center services that families anticipate receiving before, during and after a baby’s arrival would continue. The one exception would be out-of-hospital birth. Once the new Birth Center is ready, all services will move to the new facility.
LaneCoFBC asked to participate in the interim planning process and appreciates the positive manner in which we have been welcomed. Following are two items we hope to see included:
  • Designated Birthing Rooms. Designated Birth Center birthing rooms would significantly improve the difficult situation of temporarily interrupting out-of-hospital birth services. This space, through its furnishings and staffing, could come as close as possible to providing the setting and model of care women anticipate receiving at the Birth Center.
  • Informational Meeting. Should it become necessary to execute the interim plan, it would be extremely helpful to present it to the families using the Birth Center. This kind of meeting would let them know what to anticipate as they plan for a baby’s arrival.
If you have ideas or concerns, especially if you are currently using Birth Center services, please do not hesitate to share them with LaneCoFBC at!

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