Bad news for Waimea Women's Center: You must now live within their service area to obtain maternal care. Here's the letter I received in the mail today. This is a terrible blow to women in lower areas who now have no choice but to birth at Hilo Medical Center or have a home birth unassisted or with a midwife.
On May 11th, North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) announced a new policy that addresses our need to reduce maternal care overcrowding at our Waimea Women's Center. Overcrowding has become a real and rowing issue in our Family Birthing Unit. Our FBU facility was designed to support 550 births each year. We delivered 663 babies in 2011 and are on pace to deliver over 700 this year. Over half of these births are from women who live outside our NHCH service area.
After a six-week deliberation process where we consulted with our internal Maternal Care Work Group, Community Advisory Board, Board of Directors, gathered capacity data and received public input facilitated by the Waimea Community Association, our NHCH executive team has made its decision to enact new maternal care policy designed to reduce our volume to a safe and sustainable level.
EFFECTIVE MAY 11, NHCH'S WAIMEA WOMEN'S CENTER WILL ONLY OFFER MATERNAL CARE SERVICES TO WOMEN WHOSE PRIMARY ADDRESS IS WITHIN OUR DEFINED SERVICE AREA. Our defined service area is delineated by the Hawaii County Emergency Medical Response zone, the area north of a line roughly running from Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua coast across the Saddle to Kukio in North following towns ad zip codes are INCLUDED in NHCH's maternal care service area. (Zip codes: 96719, 96727, 96738, 96743, 96755, 96764, 96774, 96776, 96780)
This new policy is in effect for all NEW maternal care appointments only. Women who are already pregnant and actively registered in a course of maternal care treatment with Waimea Women's Center, regardless of residence, can complete their care at NHCH. NHCH's Waimea Women's Center will continue to accept new gynecological patients who live outside our service area since this service is not at capacity.
Should you have questions, please contact the Waimea Women's Center directly at 808-885-9606.