Ochsner will stop giving birth at Bay St. Louis Hospital

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A New Orleans-based health system will stop giving birth after this month at a hospital it operates on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Ochsner Health began operating Hancock Medical Center in 2013. Then in April 2018, Bay St. Louis Hospital was renamed Ochsner-Hancock Medical Center.

Acting Hancock County Administrator Jimmie Ladner told the herald of the sun this week that Ochsner informed the county of his decision to shut down the labor and delivery department. The health system cited a relatively low number of births and the departure of the obstetrician who gave birth in the hospital.

“The county is certainly disappointed any time a ward is pulled from the hospital,” Ladner said.

Ladner said the provision of labor and childbirth services was not required by Ochsner’s lease agreement with Hancock County, so county officials lacked authority. to block or approve the hospital system’s decision.

Tim Riddell, Ochsner’s regional medical director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, said in an email to the newspaper that the healthcare system “must continually evolve our service offerings to better meet these needs today and in the future”.

“Although we no longer offer labor and delivery services at Ochsner Medical Center-Hancock, we remain committed to providing care for women and children,” Riddell said.

Waveland Mayor Mike Smith had not yet heard of the department’s closure when contacted by the Sun Herald.

“My eldest was born at Hancock Medical,” Smith wrote in a text message. “I know it’s hard enough to get to the hospital if it’s nearby when you’re in labor, but having to drive an extra 30 minutes or more would make it even harder.”

Ochsner Medical Center-Hancock is the only hospital with labor and delivery services in Hancock County, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. The closest hospitals offering these services are two in Gulfport. One is about 17 miles from Bay St. Louis Hospital. The other is about 29 miles away.

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