TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Although St. Peter’s Health Partners maintains there will not be changes to services with the Burdett Birth Center closure, many are worried about the quality of care and how marginalized communities will have access to it. St. Peter’s held a virtual public forum Thursday to explain why it concluded that closing the Burdett Birth Center is necessary and laid out the plan to mitigate negative outcomes. 

St. Peter’s has maintained it will continue to provide 100 percent of services to 100 percent of patients, the only change is the location of births. But the idea of moving what happens at Burdett to St. Peter’s is something that does not sit right with Midwife Tisha Graham, who said both places have two vastly different cultures.

“Midwives have a different model of care that relies more on normal physiological birthing processes, and supporting people through those processes, rather than relying on medical interventions,” said Graham.

In addition to concerns over the quality of care, transportation remains one of the major worries. On Thursday St. Peter’s announced it would provide transportation through vouchers, but Graham and Assemblyman John McDonald were left wondering how that process would work.

“I don’t know if Uber drivers today, or shuttle drivers today, our CDTA folks today, are really excited about being involved in the labor and delivery process,” said McDonald.

The Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition issued a statement after the forum calling on the state health department to: “reject any closure plan that has not been reviewed by the community and does not thoroughly and convincingly address the many challenges identified by SPHP’s own health equity impact statement.” McDonald wants any future forums to be in-person.

“I’ve been very clear this should not qualify as their required hearing for the closure, although they did indicate last night that they could consider this to be, I disagree strongly with that,” said McDonald.

The New York State Department of Health cannot begin to review the St. Peter’s application for closure until it’s complete. To date the closure plan has not been submitted, according to the department. Once the plan is submitted the department will review the full application and inform St. Peter’s Health Partners on the decision but the timeline for that review process was not clear. 

McDonald says he’s not giving up and says they need to get creative to find solutions, and now they have until next year to do so.