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SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Beginning Friday, Summersville Regional Medical Center will officially stop delivering newborn children.

“The only thing that we won’t be doing will be having the deliveries on site,” Hospital CEO Karen Fiducia said Tuesday on “The Gary Bowden” Show on the AJR News Network.

According to Fiducia, the decision came down to simple economics.

“Most facilities that do less than 100 deliveries per provider have really stopped doing those deliveries on a basis of quality of care,” she said.

Summersville Regional Medical Center’s delivery rate hadn’t quite fallen below 100, but it had fallen to under 200.

“The more you do, the better at it you are,” she said. “If the market is shrinking and providers are doing less and less, their skills aren’t going to be as good as the ones who are doing it all the time every day.”

Residents who would have sought delivery at Summersville Regional Medical Center will now likely go to Charleston Area Medical Center for delivery.

“Many of the residents have already been making that decision,” Fiducia said. “Our number of births have declined with the decline of the coal industry here.”

Fiducia said at it’s peak, the Center delivered around 350 babies per year. As the service declined and became more costly to provide, she said the decision became clear.

“It’s very important to this community that this hospital be here from now into the future,” she said. “We discussed is it worth losing the hospital over a service that is declining.”

Pre-natal and post-natal care will be still be available at Summersville Regional Medical Center thanks to a partnership with the coalition “Partners for Health.”

That coalition also consists of Charleston Area Medical Center and the New River Health Association.

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