March 29, 2022, By Kelly O’Brien

MALONE, N.Y. (WCAX) – A Malone, New York, hospital is closing its maternity center, forcing would-be mothers to travel up to 40 miles away.

Alice Hyde Medical Center officials say they have been diverting planned deliveries since last October and have partnered with the region’s other hospitals, which have the capacity to take on an additional 10 to 15 deliveries a month. They say the closure would have still come even without the pandemic and added staffing challenges.

Births at the center have dropped more than 46% since 2019. Pre and post-natal care as well as other gynecological services will continue in Malone. Officials say an “OB nurse navigator” will be paired with the mom-to-be to find the right place for them to give birth.

The hospital is equipped for emergency deliveries in the ER if needed. Officials say the closure comes with no layoffs.

“Today’s announcement is devastating to North Country families, who will now be forced to drive an extra hour to have their babies… I will continue to advocate for our rural communities to have access to the health care services they need,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York, said in a statement.

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