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Labor and child delivery services ending in Rawlins hospital

Row of buildings and trees in the distance.
Vasiliymeshko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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The Rawlins hospital will be ending its labor and child delivery services on June 15. This is a result of the pandemic putting the hospital in a financial crunch.

Memorial Hospital of Carbon County is an essential service for the county and surrounding areas. The hospital is roughly 100 miles away in every direction from another facility.

Stephanie Hinkle, the hospital's marketing and communicating director, said the rural nature of the facility always poses challenges when it comes to staffing but the pandemic has worsened it.

During COVID-19, the hospital lost a lot of nurses, five of them were part of the labor and child delivery services department. They are now replaced by traveling nurses who get paid sometimes four to five times more than a staff nurse. Currently the hospital is spending $100,000 per week on traveling nurses. That cost is draining money from the hospital so Hinkle said they had to make a choice.

"Emergency services was, while it's not a strong revenue generator, it is emergency services," said Hinkle. "And it's very, very critical, especially for where we're at…the I-80 corridor. Our emergency room is one of the busiest in the state, and largely because of our location."

That left the labor and child delivery services on the table for reduction.

"Ultimately, the decision was made between the cost of staffing OBGYN and these traveling positions. Really by eliminating the service line," said Hinkle. "That's what is going to enable us to pull out of this financial hole and be able to continue to provide health care to Carbon County."

Hinkle said the hospital is working on a partnership that will allow them to continue to provide support services for labor and delivery.

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