News & Events

A Message to the Nurses and Our Allies in the Wake of the Governor’s Failure to Intervene to Save the Birthing Center

We wanted the nurses and our community allies to hear the news as soon as we got it that the Governor will not intervene to stop the closure.  This is the statement her office has been sharing with elected officials and others – it is a shameful response. 

“DPH remains steadfast in its commitment to safe, high-quality care for all residents of the Commonwealth. UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital’s September 11 letter clarifies that it does not have sufficient professional staff to continue to operate the unit safely after September 23. It also included details about the transportation services UMass Memorial is offering to patients and about the capacity of other providers to take on the care that will no longer be provided at Leominster. In these circumstances, DPH has determined that it will now focus on monitoring and enforcement related to the implementation of the closure plan.”

Here is the official response to this from the MNA from President Katie Murphy:

We are deeply disappointed that the Governor and her administration has failed to intervene to protect the most vulnerable mothers and newborns throughout all of Worcester County.  The community has spoken and the DPH validated that nearly every rationale made by UMass to justify this closure was based on false premises and warranted a delay of this tragic closure.  The administration’s own report in August documented a growing maternal child health crisis in our state, one with devastating consequences for communities of color, the very population placed most at risk for this closure.  We expected more from this administration, particularly after Governor Healey made a visit to the unit and heard from the nurses on the frontlines of the true impact of this decision, and after she reached out to area officials during the recent flood disaster voicing her desire to protect this service.  Claiming now that the state will monitor the situation after the closure, to acquiesce to the UMass system which has acted in bad faith throughout this process is akin to saying you will count the bodies on the ground after the plane has crashed – a plane you were warned was unsafe to carry those passengers.  This community, these families deserve better from those sworn to protect them. The lack of protection for the health and well being of this community, makes painstakingly clear the current laws to protect the public from these decisions are flawed and woefully inadequate. Without action or change, which community will be the next to be placed at needless risk. 

We understand the tremendous pain and disappointment this must cause each and every one of you and we, as much as possible, share that disappointment. Please know that you did everything in your power to stop this closure, and that those who have watched this fight hold you in the highest esteem. You are all viewed as heroes and as a credit to your profession, despite the lies and the mistreatment you and your patients have endured from your employer.  You have also built a lasting bond with your community that cannot be broken. 

To our allies in Community United to Save OUR Birthing Center and all the great public officials who stood with us in this fight, we thank you for your support and we will continue to work with you to protect the most vulnerable in our region.  Beyond this particular struggle, we believe the bonds we have all built working in coalition should and must be maintained, not only to confront UMass-Health Alliance in whatever misguided decisions they make in the future, but as we continue in our efforts to build a more just and caring community overall.  Yes, this is truly a time for tears for what has been lost, but this is also a time to hold your heads high for the nobility of your effort to protect your community.