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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Nurses Fear Fallout from Closure of OR Birth Center

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Friday, March 17, 2023   

Nurses are concerned about the closure of a Portland-area birth center set to go through today.

The Family Birth Center at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center is closing because the hospital says "it maintains a low volume of births with an unusually high-cost care model."

Nurses in the facility were in the process of unionizing. Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse Alejandrina Felipe works in the center and said it provided a valuable 24-hour service to an underserved area east of Portland.

"Any emergencies, or if a patient has a headache, they're worried for high blood pressure, they don't feel the baby move," said Felipe, "the first thing their OB provider tells them is go to the nearest emergency department. And they come to Mount Hood because we're here."

Felipe said nurses were offered the chance for a job in another part of the hospital, but she is taking severance. The center delivered more than 750 babies a year.

The Oregon Health Authority hasn't yet approved the closure and said in a statement this week that the hospital could be subject to regulatory action if the center closes its doors.

Felipe said the birth center's closure leaves a gap for a diverse group of patients.

"More than 50% of our patients are Latinos, Russian, Middle Eastern or a lot of the Asian Pacific Islander, API," said Felipe.

Felipe said nurses wanted to unionize because they felt management at Legacy was making decisions without input from them.

"We're working towards becoming a union," said Felipe. "If we were union, we would not be going through this."


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