After having cared for over 4,000 women and families, Baby+Co will close all three birth centers in North Carolina, including their Charlotte location in Elizabeth.
“We understand the impact our decision has on patients and midwives and are committed to supporting them through this process,” Baby+Co said in a statement. “We remain committed to the cause of improving maternity care in the United States because the current system remains broken. ”
Over the next thirty days, the staff at the Baby+Co Charlotte will work with their patients and their families to identify a place for them to continue their prenatal care and deliver their babies.
When we asked Baby+Co what happened from a financial standpoint, they replied “Market conditions and the payer landscape in North Carolina made these centers financially unsustainable. Unfortunately, low-intervention models with excellent outcomes are not compensated properly.”
Baby+Co was the only birthing center available in Charlotte. Now the nearest birthing center will be Natural Beginnings in Statesville, roughly an hour away from Charlotte. And according to a Baby+Co spokesperson, “the Novant health system is committed to growing midwifery led care in their hospital system. They are now staffed with midwives who can provide prenatal and birth care.”
Brittney Graham, a nurse who delivered her second child at Baby+Co this past January said, “It closes a door that needs to be open because I feel like moms want that experience… We need other options. Moms I know are panicking. This was their plan. Many of the moms I know are thinking of having a home birth now. Coming from working in a hospital, I thought I’d never say this, but my next birth could be a home birth as well.”
Catch up: Even as the demand for out-of-hospital birth options like birthing centers continues to grow, the insurance market struggles to keep pace. While the actual costs of a delivery at a hospital are often double the costs of a birthing center birth, many prospective parents are unable to secure insurance coverage at the birthing center. Patients who would have preferred a birthing center birth, simply can’t afford the several thousands of dollars they’d have to pay out of pocket.
Here’s Baby+Co’s full statement, posted to their website on Tuesday evening:
“We have made the difficult decision to close our three birth centers in North Carolina. We did not make this decision lightly, but market conditions and the payer landscape in North Carolina made these centers financially unsustainable.
Our passionate and talented team of midwives and employees have cared for over 4,000 women and families in North Carolina. We are extremely proud of the quality of care and experiences we provided. Despite challenging market conditions, we have a proven track record for our innovative model of maternity care, while saving payers and families in North Carolina $27 million.
Some of our accomplishments include:
- C-section rates that are 3x lower than the low-risk c-section rate in the hospital (8% v. 24%).
- Pre-term birth rates that are a third of North Carolina’s average 3% v. 10%
- Fetal and newborn mortality rate that is half of the perinatal mortality rate for low-risk births in the hospital 0.42% v 0.64%
- Net promoter score of 90, nearly unheard of in health care and well above labor and delivery average of 65
We understand the impact our decision has on patients and midwives and are committed to supporting them through this process. We remain committed to the cause of improving maternity care in the United States because the current system remains broken. We will continue our efforts to provide a financially sustainable and scalable model of maternity care with our center in Nashville and elsewhere.” – Baby+Co