PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The closing of Legacy’s Gresham Birthing Center on Friday remains up in the air as the state says Legacy’s decision isn’t allowed.
Legacy Health said they will no longer staff the birth center at Mt. Hood Medical Center starting Friday. A hospital spokesperson said the birth center will be on “divert status” as MHMC waits for the Oregon Health Authority to approve a waiver that would legally allow the hospital to end maternity services. Maternity patients will be diverted to Randall Children’s Hospital.
OHA said its waiting for MHMC to send additional information that will help officials make a decision about the waiver.
According to OHA, if MHMC stops maternity services before the agency approves the waiver, the state will move forward with “appropriate regulatory actions.” However, an OHA spokesperson did not specify what those actions would entail.
KOIN 6 found out OHA renewed the General Hospital license for MHMC in December 2022. According to Oregon law, General Hospitals are required to provide at minimum, general medical, maternity and surgical services.
KOIN 6 asked OHA if “divert status” will put the hospital in non-compliance with state licensing requirements. The spokesperson did provide a direct answer, but said that not having on-call obstetricians for inpatient services is not criteria for Emergency Department diversion. The spokesperson also said a hospital’s diversion status is limited to two hours in the current tri-county EMS protocols.
Protesters said closing the birthing center will force pregnant people to travel too far to get the care they need.
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.