Tobey Hospital to stop inpatient pediatric care
The Southcoast Hospitals Group announced on April 17 that it plans to discontinue inpatient pediatric services at Tobey Hospital.
Inpatient pediatric patients will receive care at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford as of August 1.
The decision to move pediatric inpatient services is primarily due to low pediatric admission numbers, according to a statement from the hospital.
In fiscal year 2011, there were only 42 inpatient pediatric admissions, resulting in 86 pediatric days of hospital care, and translating into an average of less than one pediatric admission per week.
Southcoast informed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on April 17 of its plans to discontinue services.
As part of the notification to the DPH, a public hearing will be held in May on the plan to discontinue services and a finding will be issued on the subject within 15 days.
Emergency pediatric care will continue to be provided. To make up for the loss in pediatric services, Southcoast will to work with Boston Children's Hospital to help provide a regional pediatric program.
“Southcoast is committed to providing high-quality, cost effective pediatric care to patients and their families in this region,” said Ellen Banach, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, Southcoast Health System. “Our ambitious plans and the affiliation with Boston Children’s Hospital ensure that South Coast children and their families will continue to have exceptional care locally.”
Plans to help enhance regional pediatric care in light of Tobey's discontinuation are:
• Updating and enhancing Southcoast facilities where pediatric patients are seen, including the Pediatric and Family Centered Units as well as section of the Emergency Department at St. Luke’s Hospital.
• A Medical Director from Boston Children’s Hospital will be onsite at St. Luke’s Hospital with responsibility for medical oversight, development and coordination of Southcoast’s hospital-based pediatric services.
• Boston Children’s Hospital will provide 24/7 onsite pediatric care at St. Luke’s Hospital thereby reducing the need for patients to travel to Boston for some services.
• Boston Children’s Hospital physicians will provide telephone consultative services to the Tobey and Charlton Memorial Emergency Departments as needed.
Southcoast physicians, including the region’s pediatricians and family practitioners, along with experts from Boston Children’s Hospital will continue to assess the needs for other pediatric specialty services.