Expecting mothers in one Texoma town will now have to hit the road when delivery time comes. The Graham Regional Medical Center is suspending its labor and delivery department, according to a press released from the hospital.
The move comes as medical center official’s work on finalizing a budget for the new fiscal year. It’s a change that will be felt throughout the community.
The increasing governmental cutbacks are to blame for the move, according to the press release. It reads that the labor and delivery department creates a $600,000 deficit. It costs the hospital on average $3,000 per delivery.
In 2014, there were less than 200 deliveries at Graham Regional Medical Center. The hospital is reimbursed for just 39-percent of its expenses per birth, according to the press release.
It’s a change that's added stress for expecting parents waiting outside Doctor James Cawley's office.
“My wife's pregnant, but they closed the OB down so we're having to go to Mineral Wells to, you know, have the baby there,” said Trey Gathings, an expecting father in Graham.
Doctor Cawley is the town's only OBGYN and soon he'll open up shop and start delivering babies in Mineral Wells. The Graham location will remain open, but come delivery time his patients will have to make the drive.
“I’m mad, because I mean it's gas money having to drive to go somewhere, when we can just be going here,” said Gathings.
However it's not just the drive that's causing concern. Over at the Kiddie Kottage, a few blocks from the hospital, child care employees said it has a bigger impact.
“You know I have several of my parents here that are nurses, and several of them lost their jobs, and are going to have to move on to other hospitals or find other means of employment. Which, to me, that means it could impact the community and could impact my position here,” Michelle Johnston, owner of the Kiddie Kottage in Graham.
It could also impact where people decided to grow their families.
“I think anytime you lose a part of a hospital it can impact any kind of community,” said Johnston.
As of now, we do not know how many jobs will be impacted. Newschannel 6 reached out to the hospital on many different occasions. We have yet to hear back from them.
Hospitals in Olney, Jacksboro and Mineral Wells will be stepping up to deliver babies. The closest delivery room from Graham is 30 minutes away.