Providence has announced a virtual community meeting will take place Thursday with local CEO Roberta Luskin-Hawk to discuss the controversial decision to close the birthing center at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna this summer and transition deliveries over to St. Joseph Hospital.
In a Feb. 26 announcement, the health care system cited declining birth rates
in the county, and especially the Eel River Valley, for the move slated to take place this summer, as well as a shortage of "women's services physicians."
A similar move proposed back in 2013
was met with an outcry from the southern portions of the county, with concerns raised about potential risks to mothers and babies due to extended travel times those who live in the outer reaches of the county would face going to Eureka, especially if there was an emergency.
At the time, more than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the maternity center and OB services to remain at Redwood Memorial. A petition currently being circulated has nearly as many.
The St. Joseph-Humboldt Facebook post states Thursday's 5 p.m. forum will "focus on how we came to the decision, our plans for the upcoming change and our efforts to harmonize the rich legacies of Redwood Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital."
It also states Luskin-Hawk will take questions during the meeting, which can be accessed at http://provhealth.org/6183HmBMW.