CHI St. Joseph Health moving Labor and Delivery, NICU to College Station

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - By the summer of 2020, CHI St. Joseph Health will no longer have planned baby deliveries in the city of Bryan.

In an email shared with KBTX, CHI St. Joseph Health CEO Theron Park announced the hospital plans to move all women's and in-patient pediatric services from CHI St. Joseph Regional Health Center to the College Station Hospital by the summer.

CHI says the services moving to the College Station Hospital are labor and delivery, post-partum, in-patient pediatric services, well-baby nursery, and NICU.

"After several months of thinking through the process and after we bought the hospital in College Station, we got a team together and looked at moving our service line to College Station," said Director of Women's Services and Pediatrics Mindy Foster. "There was really no reason we could think of that wouldn't benefit us to move."

That move will effectively end scheduled births in Bryan. In a document sent to employees, CHI St. Joseph said they have seen a 40% increase in births over the last 18 months and have space challenges at the Bryan Regional Hospital. They say the move will give patients a more comforting environment, convenient parking, and easier access to the women's services units, according to the email.

"There are several perks for us to move the entire service-line to the College Station campus," said Foster. "Those perks include 13 private NICU rooms, which is something we do not have here. We will also have 25 post-partum rooms, which will be newly remodeled."

The private NICU rooms will improve safety for the children and provide a better experience for the families. Facilities at the Regional Hospital will be repurposed for other needs.

CHI St. Joseph Health will not be offering these services at both locations, and the document shared with employees states the reason is that it's "is not financially feasible."

Foster said they looked into potential problems that the community could face, including low-income Bryan families.

"Our mission for CHI St. Joseph is to serve the community, so that was a high priority of ours, so we dove deep into those issues," said Foster. "We have talked to transportation providers in town, and there is a bus service to the College Station hospital and we have timed it. You can get from the northern part of town to the College Station hospital in about the same time."

According to Foster, the women's and in-patient department will be taking all of their staff to College Station. She also mentioned that if you're an expecting mother, you can also expect to get more details soon.

"Each of the provider's offices will be given information packets to hand out to their patients," said Foster. "Also, as we start to see patients here for community classes or tours, we will be giving everyone the information."

Foster said one factor they took into consideration was how Bryan natives, that strictly want to have their babies in Bryan, might react to this news.

"It's not a Bryan against College Station thing. It's the community as a whole and we can provide the same quality care," said Foster. "I think as time goes on, the emotional attachment will lessen, but it was definitely considered."

CHI St. Joseph says they will be able to maintain their Level II NICU accreditation and continue their relationship with Texas Children's Hospital Neonatalogists. Their OB Hospitalists program, which provides OB/GYN in-hospital care until the woman's primary OB/GYN arrives, will continue as well.