Generations of Geneseo babies have been born at Hammond-Henry Hospital, but, as of April 30, 2017, that service will cease.

Generations of Geneseo babies have been born at Hammond-Henry Hospital, but, as of April 30, 2017, that service will cease.

Hospital officials notified state regulatory bodies of their intention to end labor and delivery services.

“After careful review of the services our community is utilizing and discussions with an internal advisory committee on the issue, the leadership of Hammond-Henry Hospital has reached the difficult decision to close the hospital’s obstetric services in order to focus our efforts on continuing to deliver the broader care our community needs,” said hospital CEO Jeff Lingerfelt.

“The healthcare industry as a whole is rapidly changing. As a result, hospitals across our state and the country are being forced to do more with less and we’re all having to become more creative in order to continue serving our communities for years to come.

“The pressures are particularly difficult for smaller, rural hospitals. Across the state, most hospitals like ours have stopped offering obstetric services in order to focus on more pressing community healthcare needs,” said Lingerfelt.

Of the 55 Critical Access Hospitals in Illinois, only five offer labor and delivery services.

OSF Saint Luke’s Medical Center (formerly Kewanee Hospital) ceased labor and delivery services several years ago. With Hammond-Henry planning to end its service on April 30, that means babies will no longer be born at Henry County hospitals.

In the past few years, Perry Memorial Hospital, in Princeton, also stopped providing OB services.

“Our hospital currently offers Level 1 Perinatal services which means that complicated neonatal intensive care services are not available to our patients, and higher risk mothers and newborns require transfer to hospitals in the Quad Cities and Peoria for a higher level of care. Because of this, many expectant mothers are proactively choosing to deliver at these hospitals already,” explained Lingerfelt.

He said the hospital’s finances “are healthy” but added, “our responsibility is to preserve a vital community asset and make decisions that will ensure Geneseo has a community hospital and access to local healthcare providers for years to come.”

Instead, Lingerfelt said Hammond-Henry would focus its efforts and resources on “expanding access to services that will best serve the demographics of our community, including increasing services for our senior population and strengthening our surgical and orthopedic services.”

He added, “The staff who have been providing OB services have done an extraordinary job for our hospital and our community. We are grateful to them and will make every effort to work with them to find the best next step in their careers. We will seek opportunities to keep them in the Hammond-Henry family.”