Huntingdon, PA (9/21/18) – Hospital officials announced today that J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital will no longer deliver babies after November 6, 2018. The decision comes after years of financial challenges and declining births. “While this is a very difficult and emotional decision for the hospital board, administration and staff, we feel it is a necessary decision to ensure the sustainability of the hospital and essential services needed by the community we serve,” said Interim Administrator Joe Myers.
The decision of the hospital board was made after the Broad Top Area Medical Center provided their obstetricians Dr. Ralph Aldinger and Dr. Diane Adams 90 day termination notices on August 9. As shared in recent town hall meetings, maintaining obstetrical services has been a financial struggle for both Broad Top and the hospital for years. With the declining birth rate in the county and women choosing to deliver in other hospitals in the region, the number of births could not support the cost of physicians, nursing staff and other facility costs to keep the maternity unit open, according to hospital and medical staff officials.
Since receiving their termination notices, Dr. Aldinger and Adams, along with certified nurse practitioner Romona Shope, have signed contracts with UPMC Altoona and the Magee Specialty Services, an affiliate of Magee Women’s Hospital, to continue prenatal and gynecological services at their current office location in the hospital, retaining the same phone number; however, all babies will be delivered at UPMC Altoona.
In addition to Dr. Aldinger and Adams, there are a number of obstetricians and certified nurse midwives in the region including the Geisinger Cold Springs Medical Center affiliated with Geisinger Lewistown Hospital; Conemaugh Nason Medical Center in Roaring Spring; Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College; and Chambersburg Hospital.
Myers indicated that J.C. Blair will continue to provide all other women’s healthcare services in the Huntingdon area through either the hospital, the Broad Top Area Medical Center primary care providers or other health agencies in the community. He also shared that “Once our definitive agreement with Post Acute Medical is solidified, we will work with our new partner to explore potential options to meet the obstetric need in our community,” said Myers.
Myers indicated there are employment opportunities within other departments of the hospital that are available for our current maternity employees.