Hospital closing maternity ward

MANISTEE — A hospital is closing its maternity ward at the end of May due to low demand.

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital said the number of births has been steadily declining to around 150 per year.

There were only six births in March, a record low.

Spokeswoman Julie Mueller told the News Advocate that the hospital needs about 350 births to break even on obstetric services.

The departure of a doctor in May was also a factor in the decision to close the ward.

The Manistee hospital will still offer pre-natal and post-natal care, but women will give birth at Munson's hospital in Cadillac, 50 miles east. There are also other options in the region.

Fifteen jobs will be lost. The Michigan Nurses Association said it is "gravely concerned" about the impact on the community.

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