CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A birthing center under scrutiny last year following reported infant deaths announced it will close its three North Carolina locations.
Baby+Co., which allows mothers to deliver babies naturally in a spa-like setting, plans to close its locations in Charlotte, Cary and Winston-Salem.
“We will remain open until May 15 in order to help transition their care,” Baby+Co. said.
Three babies died in a 7-month span at the center’s Cary location, WNCN reports. The deaths appear to have occurred sometime between the Cary center opening and March 2018.
“We have made the difficult decision to close our three birth centers in North Carolina. We did not make this decision lightly, but market conditions and the payer landscape in North Carolina made these centers financially unsustainable,” the company said in a release.
The company’s Charlotte location is located on Providence Road near Randolph Road, between the Cherry and Elizabeth neighborhoods.
“Our passionate and talented team of midwives and employees have cared for over 4,000 women and families in North Carolina. We are extremely proud of the quality of care and experiences we provided.” the company said in its release.
WNCN reports a state investigation in 2018 identified a number of “significant concerns” at the Cary location. The report, which came out in June, identified concerns such as “oversight and physician supervision of certified nurse midwives.”
In the review, WNCN reports, health officials said the facility’s supervising physician "was not contacted by Baby+Co staff prior to or during the deliveries of the reviewed records that resulted in infant deaths during his tenure. For the three deaths that occurred during his tenure as medical director, he was contacted days after the deaths occurred. "
The birthing center said claims that the medical director was not immediately informed about the infant deaths are inaccurate, WNCN reports. After the newborn deaths, Baby+Co reportedly halted deliveries, but the DHSR report said the facility began again around Memorial Day.
In Baby+Co.'s closing announcement, the company listed accomplishments and a “proven track record” of their model of maternity care, saying they saved NC families $27 million.
“Fetal and newborn mortality rate that is half of the perinatal mortality rate for low-risk births in the hospital 0.42% v 0.64%,” the company claims.
Tori Scott is a patient at Baby+Co. in Charlotte. She says she did not see the announcement coming, as she was just at the Charlotte center on Saturday for a birthing class. She says the company called her Tuesday morning to tell her about the upcoming closure.
“I broke down,” Scott said. “I saw the date and that concerned me. They close May 15 and I’m due May 18.”
Scott says Baby+Co. gave her plenty of information on places she can transfer to. She says she has a back-up plan, but is hoping her daughter arrives earlier than expected so she can deliver at Baby+Co. as planned.
“Well they gave us a lot of information to transfer, but we are not transferring care at this time. We are just going to let it run its course, we feel that’s the best for our family, and the second option is a great option to.”
Baby+Co. also has locations in Tennessee and Colorado.
“We remain committed to the cause of improving maternity care in the United States because the current system remains broken,” the release said. “We will continue our efforts to provide a financially sustainable and scalable model of maternity care with our center in Nashville and elsewhere.”