RENSSELAER COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN RENEWS CALL FOR BURDETT BIRTH CENTER CLOSURE REQUEST TO BE CANCELLED AND FOR STATE TO RELEASE NEEDED DOCUMENTS ON BIRTHS IN COUNTY DURING PAST TWO YEARS
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin renewed his call for the New York State Department of Health to start the new year off by cancelling a request to close the Burdett Birth Center at Samaritan Hospital.
McLaughlin also called on the state to stop delaying the county’s request for birth certificates in the county during 2022 and 2023. County Public Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas requested the documents last August, following the announcement of the closure plans.
The birth certificates issued in the county would provide valuable data and information on the impacts of the planned closure on the county, McLaughlin and Wachunas each said.
“The birth certificates requested by Rensselaer County should be provided without further delay. When provided to the county, we will also make the information available to the public,” said McLaughlin.
“It raises questions as to why this information has not been provided by the state as this issue is being considered. If basic information like this is not available to the public, then it would be hard to see how the process of reviewing the closure request could move forward,” added McLaughlin.
“This is basic information that should have been provided to Rensselaer County without delay. The county and the public have a right to know the numbers and the factors at play in this important decision about the future of access to this important medical service,” added Wachunas.
The state did issue a directive late last month that owners of Burdett not shut down or cancel services while the request to shut down the facility is considered.
McLaughlin said the owners of Burdett Birth Center have failed to support the need to close the only birth center in the county, and the state has failed to address concerns about a shortage in medical care if Burdett is closed.
“We have fought the proposal to shut down the Burdett Birth Center and believe it will hurt access to needed medical care for many residents of our county and in surrounding communities. The state also needs to recognize this fact and cancel the closure request,” said McLaughlin.
“This is a proposal that is bad for Rensselaer County and create real obstacles for access to a needed medical service. The state should reject the Burdett proposal now,” added Wachunas.