Soon, people will no longer be having babies at UPMC Mercy in Uptown.
Starting in March, UPMC is shifting those services a mile-and-a-half away to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. As a result, some patients must change their birth plans.
The announcement from UPMC, which came in a release dated Wednesday, appears to be sudden. For example, the Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health, which has admitting privileges at Mercy, said it was only informed of the change on Wednesday.
The center “has been in discussions about plans for its new primary hospital and will announce details soon,” said the center’s executive director Christine Haas in a press release. “The Midwife Center is confident there will be no interruption in birth center or hospital services for clients.”
Cara Halderman, a resident of the Perry South neighborhood, is a patient of the midwife center. She said she had planned to deliver her second child at Mercy in June. Now she’s not sure where she’ll give birth.
“It kind of seems like it was a bombshell just dropped on everyone, which is kind of unfortunate because childbirth is stressful and scary,” said Halderman.
UPMC said no one was available to discuss the change. It did not respond to an email questioning the timing of the transition from Mercy to Magee.
But in its press release, the hospital system noted that construction of a new Vision and Rehabilitation facility near Mercy is set to begin this year. It also said Magee is hosting hospital tours for pregnant patients, so they can become familiar with the facility.
Becky McAdams of Upper St. Clair had her son in February 2018 at Magee, where she said she received excellent care.
"I had wonderful nurses … [who] kept me level-headed and kept me informed of what was going on and they made me feel like I was in a really safe environment,” said McAdams.
Once Mercy’s labor and delivery facilities close, Magee will be the only UPMC hospital in the Pittsburgh area where patients can give birth. Pittsburgh's second-largest health systerm, Allegheny Health Network, offers obstetrics at West Penn Hospital on the North Side, Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville and Jefferson Hills hospital.
WESA receives funding from UPMC.