About 100 jobs at stake due to closing of birthing center

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PHOENIX – One of the biggest hospitals in the city is shutting down its birthing center.

This decision at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital will affect about 100 employees who may lose their jobs.

Oralia Diaz gave birth to Keana at that hospital. “This is like one of the best hospitals you could have a baby at, that’s all I’ve got to say,” Diaz said.

About a dozen nurses lined up on the corner of the hospital Wednesday  to protestthe proposal, hoping the board of directors will not close the birthing center. The number of protesters grew considerably larger on Friday.

“It’s supposed to be a very happy time of the year and now we’re going into a season where we might not have jobs," said Julie Kodicek, a nurse at JCL. "Part of John C. Lincoln’s mission statement is to serve the most vulnerable and what's more vulnerable than an unborn baby and a mom?”

Approximately two-thirds of birthing center patients are covered by the state’s Medicaid program AHCCCS.

The hospital issued a statement Wednesday saying, “Because of continued cuts to AHCCCS, the birthing center is projected to lose $2.2 million next year.”

The board of directors decided at their regular board meeting Thursday night that the birthing center will close in about two months. They say they made the decision to cut the center in order to protect the hospital as a whole.