ThedaCare-NL to end birthing services
Aging population affects health care in New London
By Erik Buchinger
ThedaCare Medical Center-New London will discontinue its labor and delivery services, effective Dec. 31.
David Corso, vice president of Critical Access Hospitals in New London and Waupaca, said ThedaCare will adjust to the needs of the surrounding area.
“As we have seen the needs and demands of the New London community shift over time, we are always mindful of adapting as a health care organization to meet the needs to the communities we serve,” Corso said.
According to data projections, Medical Director of Primary Care Kelli Heindel said the community will continue to grow in age with adults 65 and older projected to increase by 17% the next five years while other age groups are expected to remain the same or decline.
“In terms of looking at the trends of the community, the projections show New London is aging,” Heindel said. “Population of child bearing women is remaining flat. Based on the population and basing on the trends of the community with where things are going, this makes a lot of sense,” Heindel said.
“The number of females from infancy through age 17 is projected to decline,” Corso said. “The next generation of expected mothers shows a decline.”
In addition to the demographics and projections, Corso said another reason for making these changes is the number of patients using the ThedaCare offices in Appleton and Neenah instead of New London for child birth.
Heindel said the staff is disappointed but understands the reasons to eliminate labor and delivery services.
“Providers that are skilled acknowledge the data and while they are disappointed in the decision, they understand it’s a changing environment,” Heindel said. “Everyone has been fully committed.
“They have been instrumental in this process and will continue seeing patients through December. For those with due dates before Dec. 31, there will be no discontinuation.”
Corso said there are no plans for eliminating any positions in New London.
“We are working with all of the staff to ensure they understand opportunities that exist in New London and in the ThedaCare system,” Corso said.
In addition, ThedaCare will partner with Women’s Care of Wisconsin to begin providing gynecology and obstetrics care including pre- and post-natal services in New London starting on Nov. 1.
The hospital recently achieved a level 4 trauma certification and is nearly tripling its cancer care in addition to improvements in the emergency department, pharmacy and inpatient services.
“All of that is based on changing demographics,” Heindel said. “This happens to be one that’s aligning with the changing demographics. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to the New London area.”