WCCHS announces suspension of maternity/OB program in Warsaw

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WARSAW, N.Y. Wyoming County Community Health System officials are announcing that they’re suspending their Maternity/OB program.

On June 1, maternity care will no longer be available at the hospital in Warsaw. Hospital officials at WCCHS say they did their due diligence. They reached out to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia 25 miles away to take on patients. News10NBC spoke with officials at both hospitals and an expecting mom, Morgan Stefani, to find out how this will work.

“I said I was just there this week,” Stefani said. “Why didn’t I know anything about it? He said I didn’t have the information to share.”

Pregnant with her second child, Stefani says finding out the maternity ward at Wyoming County Community Health System hospital would be closing 24 hours before her scheduled delivery came as a shock.

“We really don’t have a set plan, which is kind of the overwhelming part about the whole thing,” Stefani said. “I did my first delivery in 2020 at Warsaw. Everything went great, everything went awesome and I’ve seen Dr. Balaya ever since.”

According to WCCS Hospital CEO David Kobis, the hospital has been through a significant amount of financial turmoil in recent years.

“The precipitating factor were losses but also recruitment of providers,” Kobis said. “So that’s one of the things when I got here, I started to take a look at.”

Taking over after the hospital’s previous CEO passed away in January of last year, Kobis said that changes needed to be made.

“We are a county-owned and operated entity,” Kobis said. “About 65 million in net revenue and the OB program and maternal health program was losing almost $3 million a year.”

But to expecting moms like Morgan, searching for a place to deliver her baby was not something she ever wanted or expected.

“Wherever Dr. Balaya ends up is probably where we will end up,” Stefani said. “But as a homeowner and taxpayer here in Wyoming County, what are we paying for?”

United Memorial Medical Center has an OB office in Warsaw, just a mile from the hospital, and plans to expand that office to WCCHS’s main campus later this year.

A day that longtime residents like Sue Russell said can’t come soon enough.

“This hospital is an asset to Warsaw and the area community,” Russell said.

I had a chance to speak with several nurses Thursday night who say they were notified yesterday via email that the maternity ward would be suspending its operations June 1. Pregnant women can continue their routine checkups and diagnostics in Warsaw right up until delivery.