To the Editor:

This is in reference to the application regarding the closing of the family birthing center at New Milford Hospital.

I have been an administrator and a consultant to facilitate mergers and acquisitions in numerous New York City hospitals for the last twenty years.

I know regardless of how carefully orchestrated the mergers are, there are always gaps in the delivery of friendly, cordial and effective services.

In addition, the culture of one organization is often very different from the culture of the merging organization. It never functions smoothly.

In the case of New Milford family birthing center being eliminated and all birthing taking place at Danbury Hospital, I share several reasons why this should not happen.

First, birthing moms and accompanying dads need to know they can be at a local hospital quickly. Danbury Hospital is at least twenty five to forty minutes away for the residents who would be close to New Milford Hospital.

Second, the two hospitals are very different in their culture. New Milford Hospital is small and friendly, with an understanding of who they are treating.

Danbury Hospital is much larger, has an air of efficiency, but not a very friendly place in general and certainly not at all friendly in their birthing center.

I know from experience hospitals believe they are increasing their efficiencies, decreasing their costs and still delivering quality service.

Bigger is not better and, for all the efficiencies that are in the strategic documents, the real outcomes don't support the cost savings.

Please don't do this to the young mothers who need to get to a friendly birthing center quickly and feel the confidence in their obstetricians and the environment when delivering a child.

The stress of childbirth is severe enough; not feeling trust or confidence in how long it will take to get to the hospital and what they will experience once they get there exacerbates the situation.

Thank you.

Jeanette Perlman