LEOMINSTER, MASS. (WHDH) - The clock is ticking for the birthing center on the Leominster campus of UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital, which is set to close next month. 

UMass Memorial Health announced the closure in May. As the planned closure date of Sept. 23 now approaches, the organization is moving forward with plans despite pushback from the community and nurses in the maternity ward.

“We’re hoping for a miracle,” said Tara Corey, a registered nurse at UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital. 

“We will not have our jobs anymore,” Corey said of the pending closure. “There won’t be a need for us in that hospital as far as if we want to stay with obstetrics which is sad.” 

“It’s crazy that everyone is speaking out against this and the hospital is not hearing us,” Corey continued. 

The state Department of Public Health recently set out a list of requirements for UMass Memorial Health to proceed with the closure. In response, the hospital wrote a 17-page letter explaining, in part, “The Hospital made this decision after investing significant resources and efforts to try to maintain the Services.”

“Despite this difficult and necessary decision, we want to assure the Department and the community that prenatal and postpartum services will continue to be provided in the community,” the letter said. 

Speaking with 7NEWS, Corey shared her reaction. 

“I was completely shocked at how preposterous all of it actually is and how they are explaining what will happen when the closure hits,” she said. 

UMass Memorial has cited staffing issues and few births on a daily basis as some reasons for the planned shutdown, arguing there are other hospitals in the area offering inpatient maternity services.

Moving forward, the hospital is providing additional training for its emergency department staff to provide continuity of care. 

“They’re downplaying our skill level as nurses,” Corey said.

Among measures, the hospital is also working on additional transportation options for mothers in labor who don’t have their own cars. 

Corey says the hospital’s consideration of travel time is flawed.

“That’s blowing my mind and I’m so upset,” Corey said. “And I don’t think that’s a solid plan.”

A recent report from the Department of Public Health found a rise in serious complications from labor and delivery in Massachusetts over the last 10 years. 

Now, nurses from the center in Leominster say this closure could put the 500 to 600 mothers they see per year at risk. 

“A lot of those women don’t know what they’re going to do,” Corey said. “They’re, in the middle of their pregnancy, having to come up with a new plan and it’s heartbreaking.”

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