By Barrett J. Brunsman – Cincinnati Business Courier
West Chester Hospital is expecting to deliver on a planned maternity ward nine months from now, and that will require hiring nurses and doctors who specialize in obstetrics.
“We know we’re going to have to increase staff,” said Deb Titlebaum, spokeswoman for the Butler County hospital, which is affiliated with UC Health. “We’ll need that specialization in skill. A general care nurse is not an obstetrical nurse.”
How many new positions will be created and the cost to renovate the third floor of the existing patient care tower haven’t been determined, she said.
The Danis Group of Dayton has been hired as general contractor. The architectural firm is HKS Inc., which is based in Dallas.
“We’ve just started the construction project,” Titlebaum said. “We’re putting up barricades and walls. We haven’t done the hard-core building. We’re roughly nine months from opening this thing. We still have a lot of things to do – one of which is figure out what the cost will be.”
It’s unclear what the square footage of the maternity ward will be or how many pregnant women will be able to deliver babies there once it opens next year, Titlebaum said.
However, plans call for delivery suites, Caesarean-section operating rooms and triage rooms. In addition, an adjacent nursery will function as a neonatal intensive care unit. Standard and isolation bassinets as well as private family gathering areas will surround patient rooms.
“When they opened the hospital five years ago this past May, the idea for maternity was discussed,” Titlebaum said. “But the plans were not fully vetted until recent months.”
Dr. Kevin Joseph, CEO of West Chester Hospital, said adding maternity services was a logical step.
“I am very proud of our organization’s reputation as a provider of exceptional patient experiences and advanced medical care,” Joseph said. “Our decision to build a maternity unit was made in response to countless community members who wish to experience the same level of care and service during their labor, delivery and post-partum stay. I could not be more excited to provide this new resource to our community.”
Women who live in Butler County or Warren County are expected to be the primary users of the maternity ward.
Last year, 3,056 babies were born in Butler County and 870 were born in Warren County, according to the Ohio Department of Health. About 1,400 Butler County mothers and 489 Warren County mothers went to hospitals outside those counties to give birth.
Maternity services are already provided in the area by Mercy Health in Fairfield, Atrium Medical Center in Middletown and Fort Hamilton Hospital.
The maternity ward is the only major project that West Chester Hospital is undertaking at this time.
“There have been ideas about building an additional tower, but maternity service is the priority at West Chester Hospital,” Titlebaum said. “It’s wonderful being a new hospital knowing it was built with expansion in mind.”