Thursday, May 14, 2009

Birth Center interim planning - preservation and continuity of care are key

Lane County Friends of the Birth Center appreciates and looks forward to joining PeaceHealth to develop an interim plan for the period in which Birth Center services will be affected by construction.

There are two organizing principles we believe essential to sustaining the integrity of the Birth Center in the short- and long-term. They are (1) preserving the practice and (2) ensuring continuity of care. We advocate an interim out-of-hospital arrangement; and yet we recognize that making this work poses significant challenges for PeaceHealth. Whatever the outcome of interim planning, utilizing the two organizing principles defined below will provide an outcome that truly serves PeaceHealth, the Birth Center practice and its clientele.

Preserving the Birth Center Practice
Affordability & Access
Facility fees at the Birth Center are one quarter of hospital facility fees.

The Birth Center has earned and maintained prestigious licensure and accreditation. Both would be lost inside the hospital.

(1) Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC)
(2) Baby-Friendly designation from UNESCO and WHO

The Birth Center is a national leader in breastfeeding – possibly the nation’s top leader.

The CDC publishes national breastfeeding initiation rates. Recently, the Northwest and Hawaii had the highest rates; Oregon was tied for the highest rates in the Northwest; Lane County had the highest rates in Oregon and the Birth Center without a doubt has the highest rates in Lane County.

Families will be most well served, if they understand how their care will be affected. Communicating clearly about the final interim plan will enable them to make informed decisions about their care. Transparency is key to the Birth Center maintaining and growing its clientele.

A timeline including groundbreaking, construction and a grand opening would be invaluable to clearly communicating the bright future everyone anticipates.

Ensuring continuity of care for mothers, babies and families
Prenatal appointments
Childbirth education classes
Breastfeeding classes

Midwives and nurses with expertise in non-medicalized / natural birth
Lactation consultants specially trained to assist in breastfeeding initiation
3-day home / hospital visit for breastfeeding and early mother-baby care
Midwives authorized to discharge mother and baby

Weekly drop-in well baby clinic and lactation support
24-hour lactation support service
6-week post-partum appointment

We genuinely appreciate the opportunity as community members and consumers to join interim planning. While the process is rife with considerable challenges, we remain confident that an excellent, workable plan is within reach.

Stay tuned and please continue to send your feedback at


  1. PeaceHealth Nurse-Midwifery Birth Center has received notice that they are to vacate their current location on June 30, 2009. Neither this site, the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center facebook page nor the cause site on facebook make any mention of this major change to the birth centers status. My understanding is that as of today, there is no plan B for having an out-of-hospital birth center site until/if/when Sacred Heart builds the birth center at RiverBend. This is a very important development which needs everyone's attention and action. Please take the time to get involved, write the newspapers and the suits at Sacred Heart. Make our needs and desires known. Our inaction will lead to a vital resource and medical care choice being lost in Lane County.

  2. Rachel's concerns are well placed and we should all do as she encourages - we must let PeaceHealth know of our concerns.

    LaneCoFBC has sent a letter expressing concerns to PeaceHealth today - it was posted on 5.19.09.

    We are DEEPLY concerned about the lack of a transparent plan in which the Birth Center model of care will be preserved and continuity of care ensured for women using it now and during the interim construction period.

    We have repeatedly asked and been assured our group will be brought into interim planning. Unfortunately, this has not yet occurred. LaneCoFBC has finally been invited to a PeaceHealth meeting next Tuesday. Please do as Rachel encourages us - write the newspapers and PeaceHealth. Please send copies of your communications to so we can have an intact collection fully demonstrating the deep and abiding commitment we all feel for protecting the Birth Center during construction.