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Leading Catholic hospital system shrinks maternity care

April 10, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: Ascension—a Catholic hospital system that is the second-largest private hospital system in the United States—has “closed labor and delivery departments at a higher rate than the national average from 2012 to 2021”, according to Religion News Service, “and to date has shuttered more than 26% of its units that existed in 2012.”

Ascension executives maintain that consolidating maternity services at fewer hospitals has led to a higher level of care; critics maintain that consolidation has reduced access to care and that the nonprofit corporation has sufficient cash reserves (“upwards of $15 billion,” according to the report) to offer maternity care at more locations.

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