Ochsner has announce changes at its facility in Morgan City, Ochsner St. Mary.
The labor and delivery service there will end this month, with those services being consolidated in newly-renovated facilities at Ochsner St. Anne in Raceland, which is about 40 minutes away.
There are three other local hospitals offering labor and delivery services, and the statistics show that the overwhelming majority of families used those facilities for their births, a release from Ochsner states.
"Over the past several years, deliveries at Ochsner St. Mary have totaled less than 200 each year and less than 16 per month, on average. Among the five area hospitals who provide labor and deliver services, Ochsner St. Mary accounts for fewer than seven percent of the total births in the region. According to the Louisiana Hospital Association’s 2022 ShareCor Utilization Report, Ochsner St. Mary delivered the fewest babies among the 66 reporting hospitals in Louisiana," the release states.
This decision is best for the community, officials say.
“While our decision to shift our labor and delivery program to our partner hospital, Ochsner St. Anne in Raceland was difficult, it is the best overall direction for our community. Among the five area hospitals that provide labor and deliver services, Ochsner St. Mary accounts for fewer than seven percent of the total births in the region, with less than 16 babies per month,” said Fernis LeBlanc, CEO, Ochsner Bayou Region. The data shows residents are not utilizing Ochsner St. Mary to deliver their babies. Every decision we make is with the community in mind. We remain passionate about serving St. Mary Parish and the surrounding communities."
The statistics also show that the parish's population is aging.
"Population data estimates from St. Mary Parish project a 6.2 percent decline in woman of childbearing age, whereas the number of adults turning 65 will grow by 10.9 percent over the same period. Realigning service priorities paves the way for greater enhancements to adult service offerings," the release states.
The employees affected by the change will be offered jobs in the company, the release states.
"All 23 Ochsner employees affected will be offered positions currently available at Ochsner St. Mary, positions in the women’s services department at Ochsner St. Anne or other vacancies across Ochsner Health," the release states.
It is hoped that the change will allow expanded services for older folks in the community.
“We continuously evaluate the services offered at the hospital along with our annual community health needs assessment,” said Fernis LeBlanc, CEO, Ochsner Bayou Region. “While it was a difficult decision, it is the best overall direction for our community. We are committed to our patients and employees, and this change gives us the opportunity to bring new services to meet the needs of our community’s aging population.”
Ochsner St. Mary will continue to offer many services for women, such as gynecological surgery, 3D mammography and bone density scans, in keeping care close to home.
The hospital is in the process of notifying current patients and expectant mothers of the change. Ochsner St. Anne recently completed a renovation to its women’s center which includes new labor and delivery suites, the release states.