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Vocal moms on planned birthing center in Troy

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Albany/HV: Vocal moms on planned birthing center in Troy
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An independent birthing and reproductive care center in Troy is one step closer to reality. A committee unanimously voted to allow the Burdett Care Center proposal to move forward as long as the community is involved in the process. Our Britt Godshalk was there and has the story.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Alexander was born in March at St. Mary's Hospital in Troy.

"Their practice is so centered on the midwives that the quality of care they provide is so wonderful," said his mom, Julie Kilbride. "I don't want to see that lost in the area."

Chances are, Alexander's siblings won't be born there. St. Mary's labor facility may soon be replaced by a new independent birthing and reproductive center as part of an eventual merger between St. Mary's, St Peter's and Samaritan Hospitals. But first, baby steps.

"Well we need to change health care," said Jim Reed, Northeast Health President and CEO. "We need to make it better in terms of quality. But we need to make it more cost effective. We needed to come to this particular compromise."

The Burdett Care Center model was first put on the table in private discussions between the hospitals two and a half years ago. A way of bridging the secular practices of Samaritan with the Catholic practices of St. Peter's and St. Mary's. At the new center, tubal ligations will be available, but abortions will not.

"We thought that was a reasonable agreement to make given the availability of services through other avenues in that community," said Reed.

Fifty percent of vaginal births at Samaritan last year were attended by a midwife, compared to 65 percent at St Mary's.

"It's set up for people who want to go in and have a normal birth and don't want to go in and be subject to medical procedures that aren't necessarily needed," said Marisa Christiano, a member of Friends of the Burdett Care Center.

"We fully embrace midwifery," said Reed. "And Burdett Care Center will embrace midwifery."

The Burdett Care Center proposal will now go before a full public health council for a vote. If approved, hospital officials predict you could see physical signs of the merger, coincidentally, in about nine months.

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