Public Hearing Takes Comments on Falmouth Hospital Maternity, Pediatric Closures

FALMOUTH – Thoughts and opinions regarding the potential closures of the maternity and inpatient pediatric wards of Falmouth Hospital were given on a public hearing call Thursday evening.

The closures were announced in March by Cape Cod Healthcare. President and CEO Michael Lauf said that the hospital had to adapt to changing times in order to “make (the hospital) stronger.”

“We made the difficult decision, not to diminish Falmouth Hospital, but to ensure that we could continue to provide the highest quality and safest care for our patients,” Lauf said.

While standing by the decision, Lauf added that space was needed throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when the call was made. Cape Cod Healthcare said in March that there was a 39% decrease in babies born at Falmouth Hospital from 2009 to 2019.

Community members critical of the decision also made their voices heard.

Recently elected Plymouth/Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran echoed concerns from residents and members of the medical field.

Moran red a bipartisan letter addressed to the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Dr. Monica Bharel, co-signed by state representatives David Vieira and Dylan Fernandes, which said that the decision to close the units and remove the resources in the middle of the pandemic was “disappointing.”

“Given the current situation, the community has not had the appropriate time to respond to this plan with the level of research that such a serious decision requires,” Moran said.

Among the issues that opponents to the plan raised were that Falmouth Hospital provides simple access to resources, as it is often easier for many local families to go to Falmouth Hospital as opposed to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

Prospective homeowners may also be turned off from the area, Moran added, as the proximity to healthcare resources is often a major factor people consider when choosing a place to live.

The DPH will now determine if the wards are needed to maintain proper health services in the area. If the DPH decides that is the case, the hospital must submit an access plan to the state.

The closure date of the units is slated to be July 29.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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