Singing River Health System’s hospital in Gulfport will be closing its labor and delivery unit, as well as additional obstetric services in less than a month.
Officials with the hospital announced the closure on Thursday, stating that the cause was due to staffing shortages of OB physicians and provider coverage. Employees at the Harrison County facility were given a 30-day notice with the option of transferring to other locations managed by Singing River.
“The health and wellbeing of our communities in Harrison County and surrounding areas are our top priorities. We are constantly working to provide patients with access to a wide array of inpatient and outpatient services that will meet all of their healthcare needs,” the system said in a statement. “However, due to a lack of provider coverage, we’ve made the difficult decision to suspend obstetric (OB) services, which include labor and delivery, at Singing River Gulfport, effective April 1, 2023.”
The statement added that the hospital is not expecting the closure to be permanent, but plans to temporarily suspend care in the unit until a solution is implemented.
“While the decision to suspend services was not something we wanted to do, we are hopeful it is only temporary and that we can reinstate services in the near future,” officials included in the statement. “We will continue to search for long-term solutions to bring back OB services to Singing River Gulfport and our community and hope this will only be temporary. We are committed to ensuring our patients receive the best care possible now and in the future to ensure we can continue providing access to high-quality, comprehensive care in our communities.”
At this time, obstetric care is still being provided to patients at the system’s additional locations in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs.
Singing River is currently in the process of accepting bids for the sale of the system, with the official deadline for applications to be submitted set for March 10. A little over a month later, a bid will be selected by county supervisors, with the negotiation process to purchase SRHS set to begin by April 14.
For months, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors and SRHS Board of Trustees have discussed plans to sell the hospital system after struggling financially from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the closure of Gulfport’s labor and delivery unit, the hospital system is the second-largest employer in Jackson County with roughly 3,500 employees.