PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite the state not yet approving the closure of Legacy’s Mount Hood birthing center, the Oregon Health Authority says it’s looking into reports that patients are already being sent to other hospitals.
In a release issued on Monday afternoon, the OHA states it’s “highly concerned about reports that maternity patients at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center are being redirected” to other hospitals.
Legacy Health sent a release on March 15 stating the Family Birth Center would close two days later — but OHA was quick to respond, saying the plan had not been approved.
According to OHA, emails had been sent to Legacy Mount Hood on two separate occasions earlier in the month, with the first one warning that “Closure of a required service without a waiver would put the hospital at risk of a CMS 90-day termination for non-compliance with state licensure requirements.”
In the second email, OHA acknowledged they had received the waiver request, but that “a hospital may not implement a waiver until it has received written approval from the division” and that more information would be required before the closure could move forward.
Officials on Monday reiterated they have not yet approved the waiver and that they are still in the process of reviewing Legacy’s responses “to the many questions” they had posed about the waiver request. OHA says they received those responses late Friday.
“OHA has been very clear with Legacy that it cannot cease providing required maternity services at its Family Birth Center without receiving OHA approval of a waiver,” Monday’s statement read.
Regardless of the lack of approval, the health authority says it will be investigating reports that MHMC has ceased providing maternity services.
Following OHA’s latest release, Legacy provided the following response:
“Legacy Health submitted information Friday to respond to the Oregon Health Authority’s request for additional information. Today, we are in conversations with the OHA’s Health Care Regulation and Quality Improvement team. We appreciate the thorough review the Oregon Health Authority and its staff are providing. We respect their authority in this review, and we are continuing to work as quickly as we can to respond to their questions.”
OHA recently told KOIN 6 News that if MHMC stops maternity services before the agency approves the waiver, the state will move forward with “appropriate regulatory actions.” However, a spokesperson did not specify what those actions would entail.
Patients as far away as Government Camp would be impacted by the closure.
This is a developing story.