Letter to the Editor: Center’s closing end of an era


After steadfastly serving this community for nearly 70 years, Valley Health Warren Memorial Hospital’s Women’s Care Center welcomed its last patient this week. The decision to transition labor and delivery services from Warren to Winchester Medical Center was more than just difficult; it was filled with emotion and left our hospital family with a sense of loss. As any doctor, nurse, therapist or other health care team member who has ever worked on an OB unit can tell you, it is a privilege to help parents welcome their newborns into the world.

It’s a harsh reality that many hospitals and communities across the country have found themselves in similar distressing situations, where low utilization of their birthing services coupled with challenges in recruiting providers and concerns for patient safety have left very little recourse.

One of the factors that helped mitigate our decision at Warren was the proximity of highly-specialized providers and comprehensive services available within our own system at Winchester Medical Center. Valley Health has made substantial investments and significant enhancements to its obstetrical services, including obstetricians who are on site around-the-clock, a dedicated OB emergency department and the region’s only level III neonatal intensive care unit.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the closing of our Women’s Care Center represents the end of an era. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank all of our staff members for their commitment, compassion, energy and passion for serving our patients. Countless members of our community are in your debt.

As with every end, there is also a beginning. We are excited and proud to be in a position to build a new, thoroughly modern facility that will allow us to advance our level of care to better meet the changing needs of our community. Life is filled with many unknowns, but we hope those we are here to serve know that, regardless of what may divide us, Valley Health is united in its commitment to provide exceptional patient care for many years to come.

Floyd Heater, vice president,

Valley Health Southern Region,

president, Warren Memorial Hospital