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By Debra Moore

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Plumas County Hospital is different from the smallest acute care hospital in the state, still delivering newborns, and hospital officials hope it will continue, but there is a reason why Plumas County is the only Plumas County hospital that still offers obstetrics. It’s expensive. դժվար It is difficult for the staff.

And this month it became even more expensive as the hospital had to pay two mobile nurses more than their usual salary to extend their hospital stay.


“We had a potential shortage of staff, we might have had to divert in August (send patients to other hospitals to give birth), but now we do not have to,” said Doddy Redd, the hospital’s chief executive. on July 8 at a hospital board meeting.

As of May 31 of this fiscal year, 64 children were born in PDH. At this moment in 2020, 52 children were born. In 2019, with 67, and in 2018 with 65.

The discussion on continuing OB services is not new. Former CEO Dr. FF Kepl considered it a priority to keep it open, “Red said,” that’s his goal, but it’s getting harder.

“We do not do OB because it is a profitable business line. “We do it because it’s right for the community.” “But we must have a stable model.”

The problem is not that few children are born or that doctors do not manage to deliver them, but that there are few nurses in the specialized field to provide the necessary care and coverage.


Read that the hospital has about 90 days to make a decision. The traveling nurses have only been here for a few months.

“You have all read that OB is moving away from rural health,” Redin told executives. “What I would like to do in the next 90 days is write a story about how to save the program, not stop the program.”

“This is huge,” said director Guy McNett.

Director Andy Rybeck asked if many people were leaving the area. Read that some people use midwives, some go out of their way, but how much she does not know. However, giving birth to more babies is not the answer to the current problem. The problem is with the nursing mothers. However, Kepel said that when there is staff, delivering more babies will help offset the cost.


Read that she has spent a lot of time getting help from other district hospital providers, doctors, nurses, and now she wants to reach out to the community so they can be aware of the situation.

In an interview following the meeting, Red said he wanted to hear what might be important to the community, although he said maintaining the plan would be “far-reaching.”

But he does not give up. She has maintained consulting services to help recruit more OB nurses. “Our nurses were burned,” he said. The current staff of nurses, three full-time, one part-time և two travelers, are responsible for providing round-the-clock coverage. Peru’s nurse manager Sue Brown says the situation is exacerbated if there are two deliveries at the same time, or if the nurse is on vacation or calling for a patient.

Doctors understand the personnel difficulties, but want to keep the program. In recent years, three have had their newborns at PDH. And CEO Read is pregnant և is going to give birth in August.


Former CEO Kepple said recruiting and retaining OB nurses is an ongoing issue. When Kepple first arrived at PDH, deliveries were often covered by medical-surgical nurses, but it became more specialized with the required training. And many OB nurses do not want to be the only OB nurse on the floor working with a patient. Larger hospitals have more staff.

Kepple is working to find a solution. She said that the loss of obstetrics and childbirth has far-reaching consequences, often being the first step towards rural hospitals refusing emergency surgery. When the hospital provides OB, then there is always an on-call anesthesiologist, OB nurse բուժ OB doctor. The hospital must be ready for an urgent C-section. “There is a wave effect,” he said. “It affects the skill set.”

“It will cost our community a lot to lose OB,” Kepl said. “We will find a creative solution.”


Plumas Regional Hospital will hold community forums to regulate the long-term viability of its obstetrics և delivery / delivery program. The first forum is scheduled for this Wednesday, July 14, at 5 pm in the PDH Conference Conference Room or join via an online virtual link.

Two additional forums will be held next week on Monday, July 19, at noon, on Tuesday, July 20, at 6 p.m.

Through the link below, community members who register for the event will receive a virtual invitation on the day of the event.

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