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The original item was published from 10/24/2023 3:54:13 PM to 11/2/2023 2:46:59 PM.

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County Executive Press Releases

Posted on: October 24, 2023

[ARCHIVED] RENSSELAER COUNTY CONTINUEs OPPOSITION TO PLANNED CLOSURE OF BURDETT BIRTH CENTER

RENSSELAER COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN AND PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR MARY FRAN WACHUNAS CONTINUE OPPOSITION TO PLANNED CLOSURE OF BURDETT BIRTH CENTER, AND HEALTH EQUITY REPORT SUPPORTING CLOSURE

RENSSELAER COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN AND PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR MARY FRAN WACHUNAS CONTINUE OPPOSITION TO PLANNED CLOSURE OF BURDETT BIRTH CENTER, AND HEALTH EQUITY REPORT SUPPORTING CLOSURE


“We have opposed the planned closure of the Burdett Birth Center at Samaritan from the start, when a plan developed in secret was revealed. As County Executive, I was proud to be one of the first to oppose the closure plan for the only birth center in our county, recognizing the health, safety and quality of life issues it would create for our residents,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin.

“Today, following a mishandled process and complete lack of any public support for this proposal, I am even more committed in opposition to a plan that will hurt residents throughout Rensselaer County and in surrounding communities,” added McLaughlin.

“This is a bad idea for mothers and families, a bad idea for Rensselaer County and surrounding areas, and a bad idea for the future of our entire area,” he said.

“On behalf of the residents of Rensselaer County, we again call on New York State to immediately cancel, not delay, this plan and recognize what a deeply bad idea this is for the area. The Governor’s appointee as Health Commissioner has the ability to cancel the proposal now, and the Governor and the Health Commissioner should take the opportunity to do the right thing and stop the plan,” he continued.

“This is deeply disappointing, because so many facts and so much testimony was gathered in support of keeping the Burdett Birth Center open. The closure will hurt women in areas that face economic challenges, and at the least, create a lack of easily available and convenient services for our residents,” said county Public Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas.

“Our department was among the many advocates, health professionals and residents who opposed the closure plan, and recognize this will hurt women’s, family and public health for years to come,” added Wachunas.

County officials also took exception to a claim included in the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) submitted by St. Peters Health Partners (SPHP) that the county had been invited to participate and did not respond. County officials

In fact, the county was among the first to oppose the idea, and issued numerous public statements, letters to SPHP and state officials, participated in and attended numerous public meetings.

“On the same day they claim to have contacted the county, I was testifying as part of a panel on the subject convened by the Attorney General,” noted Wachunas.

“I do not think they wanted to hear what we had to say on the subject,” added Wachunas.

“This is an attempt by Trinity to obscure the fact they had made up their minds before seeking public input, as demonstrated by the fact the closure plan was developed in secret. There was no notice or invitation received, just as there is no reason to close the Burdett Birth Center,” said McLaughlin.

“We are demanding a retraction of that statement, and have communicated that to Trinity Health,” said McLaughlin.

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