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Skyline, Providence Collaborate During Difficult Times

Makes sense to work with neighbors

To make the best of difficult times in health care, Skyline Hospital and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital are collaborating in the area of obstetrics for at least the next few months.

Skyline Hospital's Birth Center, known for its one-on-one personal care, has experienced a lower-than-usual volume over the past year to the extent that it has been difficult staffing a 24/7 birth center.

While Skyline Hospital re-evaluates its financial situation, the physicians in Klickitat and Skamania counties' primary medical group -- NorthShore Medical Group -- will continue to offer family centered obstetrics care and see patients at their White Salmon and Stevenson offices; however, they will be temporarily delivering babies at Providence in Hood River.

"We greatly appreciate the excellent support we have received from the Providence OB department. These cooperative efforts are important to assure great care for growing families in the Columbia Gorge," says Dr. Joseph Rinella of NorthShore Medical Group. "In the future, we hope to see the development of a team of OB nurses that can work at both Skyline and Providence so that women can get excellent care at whichever facility is closest to their home and family support."

Ed Freysinger, chief executive of Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital concurs. "We're happy to work alongside Skyline Hospital to continue providing a positive birthing experience for patients in our community. In these times of health care reform, health care organizations are coming together to find solutions to find less expensive ways of delivering health care, while maintaining quality."

"Considering our current financial constraints, we're collaborating to make sure that our patients continue to get excellent care, even during difficult times," said Mike Madden CEO of Skyline Hospital. "Skyline Hospital -- like most hospitals in the state -- is experiencing a substantial downturn in revenues. We pride ourselves on offering personal care, and with severe budget constraints at the moment, we're not able to offer the kind of 24/7 personal care in our Birth Center that our patients have come to expect."

The Birth Center is not the only department at Skyline that is affected, in fact, Skyline Hospital has instituted some budget cutting measures across the board -- such as reducing hours of all non-direct patient-care employees by one-fifth, reducing employee meals and uniform allowances, and curtailing obstetrics until further notice.

"Every hospital in the country is undergoing difficult times," added Madden. "It makes sense that we, as neighbors, work together to figure out how to best serve the residents of the Gorge."

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