The maternity ward at St. Catherine Hospital in Smithtown is set to close on Feb. 1, the hospital’s president informed employees in a letter on Thursday.
Declan Doyle wrote that the hospital is submitting a proposed closure plan to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to shutter its hospital-based maternity services.
The hospital president explained that the OB/GYN physicians who provide maternity care at St. Catherine of Siena are changing employers and that their new contract prevents them from providing maternity care at St. Catherine of Siena.
“Their decision to leave was purely contractual and not prompted by any discontent with St. Catherine’s staff or services,” Doyle wrote. “While St. Catherine remains sound and stable overall, these unforeseeable circumstances force us to submit a proposed closure plan … Once the DOH reviews our proposal, they will communicate an official closure date.
“Though these changes were beyond our control, proposing to close the maternity program at St. Catherine is our only option. It is a difficult decision and certainly not one taken lightly,” he continued.
Doyle added that “In the interim period, hospital-based maternity care previously offered at St. Catherine will continue to be provided at Good Samaritan University Hospital and St. Charles Hospital.”
St. Catherine of Siena will work with maternity unit staff members, Doyle said, to find other positions at the hospital or within Catholic Health Services, the system that oversees operations at St. Catherine of Siena.
Doyle also noted the hospital will work with the departing physicians in developing transition plans for each of their patients as to where they will deliver after Feb. 1.
“Throughout this process, we will remain committed to the continuum of care for our valued patients, and to those impacted by these potential changes,” Doyle wrote.
A Catholic Health spokesperson confirmed the closure and issued the following statement:
“As of February 1, 2024, the voluntary OB/GYN physicians providing maternity care at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital will leave their current employer, and as part of their new contract, will no longer be able to provide maternity care at our hospital. Due to these unforeseeable circumstances, Catholic Health and St. Catherine will submit a proposed closure plan to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to cease its maternity services program as of Feb. 1. Hospital-based maternity services previously offered at St. Catherine will be consolidated and will continue to be provided at nearby hospitals within the Catholic Health system, including Good Samaritan University Hospital and St. Charles Hospital, each known for providing exceptional maternity care in newly renovated, best in class facilities. Once the closure plan is approved by the DOH, we will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure continuity of care for our valued patients during this transition.”
Top photo: St. Catherine of Siena President Declan Doyle. (Source: Facebook / St. Catherine of Siena)