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Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to close upper Napa Valley birth unit

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Citing low patient volume, Adventist Health on Thursday said it would close its family birth unit at its St. Helena Hospital in Napa Valley on Jan. 11.

“The lower volume levels are far below the requirements needed to sustain the unit,” the announcement stated.

Steven Herber, M.D., president of Adventist Health St. Helena, said the local birth rate has been a challenge.

”The fact is Upper Napa Valley residents just aren’t having as many babies," he stated. "So, we need to adapt the services we provide to those services the community needs.”

What may replace the unit at the hospital, he added, are “other services, such as heart and vascular and telemetry, and it may allow us to designate beds for treatment of stroke patients.”

The closure will affect 10 full-time and seven part-time employees, mostly in nursing.

“We are eager to work with each staff member to place them in other positions within the hospital or in other Adventist Health facilities. We would love to retain the staff at this campus if possible,” Herber said.

The announcement stated that “affiliated providers” will continue to see patients in other area clinics. Physicians Candace Westgate and John Kirk, midwife Sue Turner and nurse practitioner Sharon Phillips sees patients in St. Helena, Hidden Valley Lake and Napa. Physician Lovera Miller see them in Napa. Midwife Kristine Twite Lehnen attends to patients in St. Helena.

“Our team of providers will work with expectant mothers to identify a facility to deliver their baby that best meets their needs," the organization stated.

Adventist Health said the closest hospitals with labor and delivery services include Adventist Health Clear Lake, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial.

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