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Kaleida Health employees say midwife positions being eliminated

Posted at 12:34 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 00:36:23-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Kaleida Health is terminating midwives at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, according to Certified Nurse Midwives at the hospital and the union that represents many of Kaleida's healthcare workers.

Catherine Stack has been a midwife at Suburban Hospital for more than 20 years.

“I kind of joke around and say, I’m air traffic control, I get that physician to that delivery, that physician to that delivery,” said Stack.

Stack said midwives also fill-in for doctors that miss deliveries, and support mothers who lose babies.

She's worries what will happen on June 1st. She said she received a phone call last week that Kaleida Health was eliminating its five midwife positions from Suburban Hospital starting June 1st.

She said Kaleida told her its looking to go towards the model at Oishei Children's Hospital. She said midwives there are a private practice like system.

“I know Kaleida is probably trying to look at ways to cut costs, but I don’t feel like this is gonna benefit moms and babies," Stack said. It's gonna really jeopardize the nurses, their stress load, their work load."

Stack said the five midwives fill a 24/7 rotation, and a team consists of one house physician, a first year resident, and a midwife. She said the hospital does about 225-250 deliveries per month.

She's concerned this will have a negative impact on mothers and babies. She said cutting midwives could lead to delays in admittance, triage, and out patient care because interns will be tied up in the operating room.

She said this will lead to more stress and work for already busy nurses.

“We were always described as their safety net, so I feel like there’s a lot of truth to that word, they’re pulling out the safety net that helps keep that a high functioning level 2 obstetric department,” Stack said.

The union representing many Kaleida healthcare workers are calling on the administration to reconsider.

We at CWA Local 1168 are absolutely against the elimination of Certified Nurse Midwives at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

The unique expert care these healthcare professionals deliver to our community of patients that affects women, newborns and families cannot be replaced.

We are intent on having Kaleida Health Administration reconsider this ill conceived plan. The outpouring of support in the hospital from the labor and delivery team, physicians and patients is testament to their work and dedication. It is a great program at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, lets keep it that way.
Robert V. Andruszko, Executive Vice President CWA Local 1168

Mothers who had Stack as a midwife at Suburban Hospital reflect on how their experience would be different without a midwife.

“I think it would’ve been a different experience only because Cathi and midwives in general really offer a whole other level of comfort and security,” Maria Violante said.

"Our first born was delivered by a mid wife at Suburban and I am just heart sick that women's health and the choices of how a woman delivers her baby is so limited and such a low priority in this day and age," Tracy Connor, a midwife who know's Stack, said via text.

7 Eyewitness has reached out to Kaleida Health multiple times, and has not received an answer to our questions.

“I feel like you’re taking a well oiled machine and your pulling it apart,” Stack said.