Friday, January 15, 2010

Times Union Article on DOH & BCC

The following article is from the Times Union, Albany NY and was published on Thursday January 14, 2009. It concerns the outcome of the Deptpartment of Health committee meeting regarding the Burdett Care Center Certificate of Need hearing that was held on Tuesday, January 12. For more information, see my previous post "The Times They are A Changin'" and check out the Friends of the Burdett Care Center website.


Rally makes pitch to be part of birthing center created from merger

By CATHLEEN F. CROWLEY, Staff writer

First published in print: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Toting signs and babies, supporters of the birthing center at Seton Health/St. Mary's Hospital showed up in force on Tuesday at a hearing of the state Public Health Council.

They pleaded their case that the midwifery model should be part of the new birthing center being created in the merger of Seton Health and Northeast Health's obstetrical services. The new birthing center, called Burdett Care Center, is slated to open in September at Samaritan Hospital, but it still needs state approval.

Members of the subcommittee overseeing the hearing added five contingencies to Burdett's application for a operating permit: a midwife must be on the board of directors and the medical executive committee of the new center; Burdett must demonstrate it is accommodating the midwife model and that midwives are involved in policy making; the center must submit data to the state on the numbers of Cesarean-sections, vaginal births after C-sections and number of births attended by a midwife; the state will ensure compliance; and the center's initial operating permit will expire in five years so the committee can evaluate the center's compliance before approving a permanent permit.

"I don't think we could be anymore pleased," said Marisa Christiano, a doula and birthing educator from Rotterdam who refers many of her clients to Seton.

James Reed, president and CEO of Northeast Health/Samaritan Hospital, reiterated at the meeting that Samaritan supports the midwifery model.

Seton's birthing center has four midwives and a reputation of being very supportive of mothers who want to give birth naturally. The midwives and Seton families feared that their model of care would be lost in the merger, especially since Seton leaders have been left out of the planning because of conflicts with Seton's religious directives. The new center will provide some birth control services, like tubal ligations and vasectomies, which are not allowed in the Catholic hospital.

The midwives and mothers organized over the past several weeks to make their demands known, and Christiano said they were heard on Tuesday. The hearing was supposed to take 15 minutes, but it lasted more than two hours. Christiano said the committee listened to their concerns.

"We are hoping that we are now going to have a big voice in determining what the policies and procedures are going to be at the new facility," she said.

The full Public Health Council will vote on Burdett's application on Jan. 29.

Cathleen F. Crowley can be reached at 454-5348 or

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