Publication Date: November 16th, 2020
Publication Type(s): Case Studies
Topic(s): Critical Access Hospitals, Healthcare Access, Hospitals and Clinics, Maternal Health, Women
Author(s): Kozhimannil KB; Gilbertson M
Rural, hospital-based obstetrics units continue to close across the nation. Between 2014 and 2018, 52 rural counties lost all local hospital-based obstetric services, continuing a trend of declining access that
has been occurring since at least 2004. As a result of these closures, rural residents are more likely to give birth in an emergency room, or to give birth prematurely – a leading cause of infant mortality. While the current COVID-19 pandemic has already catalyzed additional closures, little literature has attempted to capture models of success or best practices used in rural hospitals that have maintained
successful obstetrics units. In an effort to explore this, key informant interviews were conducted by phone with members of leadership at Western Wisconsin Health in April, 2020 and an email communication to clinicians at Western Wisconsin Health conducted to validate identified themes in this case study June, 2020.