Only Birthing Center In Coshocton To Close Its Doors

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Tasha Yeater gave birth to her son,Theron, at Coshocton Memorial Hospital just 11 months ago.

She called the staff exceptional.

"The nurses were amazing", she says,

When she learned the hospital was closing its birthing center, she says she couldn't believe it.

"If they're taking the birthing center away, where are they going to deliver babies?," she says.

Once the birthing center closes in late June, pregnant mothers will have few options.

From Coshocton, they may have to drive 25 miles to a hospital in Millersburg, 30 miles to a hospital in Zanesville, 36 miles to Mount Vernon or 40 miles to Cambridge to deliver their child.

"It's crazy - they shouldn't be doing that kind of stuff," she says.

The hospital blames a drop in deliveries, from 275 in 2012 to 227 last year.

It also says the county's population is aging. Fifty-one percent of the population is 40 years old or older. Just 15 percent of the women are of childbearing age.

Leane Rohr runs the county Maternal and Child Health Project. It's here where most low-income mothers get pre-natal care.

"Most what we're hearing is shock that the birthing center is closing," she says.

She says the closing of the birthing center will put added pressure on her clients because they don't have the means to travel to a hospital outside of the county.

"A large percentage of the mom's we deal with don't have access to reliable transportation, so that's going to be a challenge," she says.

Rohr says closing the birthing center leaves the future of the clinic in question.

"That's one of the things we'll have to assess - What about our value? What kind of services can we offer to the community?" said Rohr.

Coshocton Memorial says it's working with Muskingum Valley Health Center and each individual patient to ensure they have a medical plan.

In cases of emergency, the hospital says it's training its ER staff to handle cases of problematic pregnancies.

The hospital says it lost more than a million dollars every year since 2012 on its birthing center because of the declining number of deliveries.

It says this year it's projected to lose more than $2 million.