Hospital ponders birthing center's future

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New Milford Hospital is studying whether to shift some or all of its birthing center operations to Danbury Hospital as part of the two hospitals' affiliation.

Deborah Weymouth, senior vice president of operations and executive director of New Milford Hospital, said Thursday the decision on the birthing center could be made within three to four months.

"We are looking at a number of services and birthing is one of them. This has been talked about since 1997," she said.

The hospital has fewer than 250 births a year and those numbers have been declining by about 30 births annually for the past three years, Ms. Weymouth said. "We're the second lowest in the state."

At the same time, she stressed a decision to move part or all of the birthing center has not yet been made.

The study is part of the overall examination of what the 90-year-old New Milford Hospital will be providing the community in the future.

Ms. Weymouth said the hospital plans to make a $10 million renovation of the hospital's emergency room and to renovate its intensive care unit.

Plans for both of these projects will be announced within the year, she said.

New Milford Hospital and Danbury Hospital affiliated more than a year ago under the umbrella of Western Connecticut Healthcare.; 203-731-3345.