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Legacy delays reopening of Mount Hood Family Birth Center

Legacy announced last week that the shuttered birth center would reopen June 13, but announced the delay a few days later.

GRESHAM, Ore. — Legacy Health has announced that the reopening of the Mount Hood Family Birth Center in Gresham has been delayed and will not take place Tuesday as previously planned.

Legacy announced last week that it had committed to a firm date of June 13 after previously saying at various times that the center would reopen at some point in May or June. But Legacy walked that date back in another news release a few days later, saying that state officials had asked for additional information about the new operating plan for the birth center. 

Legacy did not give a new planned date for the reopening, but said the facility will be ready to go as soon as it receives state approval. Legacy said it submitted an updated plan on June 9 and expected state approval to take at least a week.

"My hope is that Legacy has learned a lot from this situation and they'll be better community partners like they used to be and be involved and work with the community when they have things not working their way," Gresham City Council President Sue Piazza said after the initial announcement last week.

Legacy announced in January that it intended to close the birth facility at Mount Hood Medical Center, citing a shortage of workers and financial losses. Despite significant pushback from the community, Legacy moved forward with the closure in March.

In the weeks leading up to the closure, the Oregon Health Authority publicly warned Legacy that state regulators had not granted permission to shut down the birthing center.

Legacy Mount Hood's state-issued General Hospital license requires it to provide maternity services unless the state grants a waiver, OHA said. Legacy applied for a waiver in advance, but the request was still under review when the hospital carried out the closure on March 17.

OHA officials announced in late March that the agency had denied Legacy's waiver request and opened an investigation into Legacy's decision to close the center without permission.

State regulators disagreed with Legacy's explanation about the lack of available staff, concluding that the staff shortages were a product of management decisions. OHA also said the closure would be detrimental to the community.

Legacy initially released a statement saying it would consider OHA's decision, and subsequently announced in mid-April that it would reopen the center. 

The reopening date has changed a couple times; Legacy's initial announcement said it would reopen by July, but a subsequent news release said the hospital was aiming to reopen by the end of May. 

A later update changed the plan to mid-June, noting that the timeline was dependent on how fast the hospital could line up physicians and nurses and establish a care plan.

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