Seton Medical Center Harker Heights and Wellstone Health Partners Announce Plans to Discontinue Labor and Delivery Services
HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (June 29, 2023) – Seton Medical Center Harker Heights (SMCHH) and Wellstone Health Partners today announced plans to close the hospital's maternity care unit. The hospital will begin phasing out deliveries and The Women's Center and Wellstone's obstetrics and gynecology practice will close by Sept. 30, 2023.
The decision reflects declining utilization of maternity care and other women's health services. In 2022, the hospital averaged just two births per day. Volumes have continued to decline due, in part, to a shortage of specialized providers needed to maintain and grow the service. When combined with increasing costs, these factors have created a burden the hospital cannot sustain over the long term.
"This was not a decision we made lightly," said SMCHH Chief Executive Officer Patrick Swindle. "Like all hospitals, we have a responsibility to ensure the services we provide are a reflection of community need. Given the many choices for obstetrical care in our area, we can no longer maintain a service without sufficient demand or long-term staffing support. This was a hard but necessary choice to ensure we remain financially strong and positioned to continue meeting the needs of the community – now and into the future."
Over the coming weeks, staff will work closely with patients and area providers to ensure continuity of care. Patients with questions are encouraged to contact their provider's office or call visit SetonHarkerHeights.net/medical-records to obtain a copy of their medical record. The hospital's Emergency Department will be equipped to handle precipitous deliveries and provide newborn care as needed following the closure.
Impacted hospital and clinic staff members will have the opportunity to transfer to other departments or receive priority consideration for open positions. Team members who are unable to transfer will be eligible to receive severance benefits.
"We are sad to close this chapter but are committed to doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for patients and staff," said SMCHH Chief Medical Officer Bodie Correll, MD. "We remain grateful for the amazing care provided by our dedicated team members, as well as the many patients and families who have allowed us the privilege of caring for them over the past decade."