April 29, 2024 at 2:35 p.m.

In turnaround, Burdett Birth Center to remain open for at least five years

Bishop Scharfenberger calls the decision by St. Peter's Health Partners 'wonderful news'

By Mike Matvey | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

After it was announced Monday, April 29, that the Burdett Birth Center in Troy, which was slated to close at the end of June would remain open, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany called the turnaround “wonderful news.” 

“This is wonderful news for the families relying on the Burdett Birth Center in Troy. I am grateful to all involved for their willingness to set aside differences and work together to meet the needs of the community for the next five years. I pray that spirit of cooperation continues as work proceeds to find a permanent solution,” Bishop Scharfenberger said in a statement released by the Diocese. 

St. Peter’s Health Partners said that it had changed its mind after a $5 million state grant was secured by Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes), and other legislators to keep open the Burdett Center, which is located inside Troy’s Samaritan Hospital and is Rensselaer County’s only maternity ward. 

"As we have said since our initial announcement, we did not want to close Burdett," said Dr. Steven Hanks, president and CEO of St. Peter's Health Partners and St. Joseph's Health, in a press release. "At the time, transitioning delivery services from Burdett to nearby St. Peter's Hospital was the best option to preserve our ability to care for our community."

 Hanks thanked the legislative leaders who were instrumental in identifying the need and worked to obtain the funding. "The entire community owes a debt of gratitude to our legislative leaders for their efforts in support of determining the long-term viability of Burdett," he said.

Plans for the center's closure were first announced last June but were still awaiting approval from the Department of Health. 

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy to see the rebirth of Burdett Birth Center (BBC) and appreciate the actions of the St. Peter's Health Partners board and executive team in rescinding the Certificate of Need request that would have closed BBC and transitioned all births to St. Peter's in Albany,” McDonald said. "I am deeply grateful to the Save Burdett Coalition and the many advocates who raised their voices from the very beginning and brought the community together to have their voices heard.”

St. Peter’s Health Partners, which is run by Trinity Health and oversees the center, said the Burdett Center costs around $2.3 million annually to run. 

Even though the Burdett Center will remain open, Bishop Scharfenberger added that conversations must continue. 

“This process has prompted communication and cooperation that can improve the quality of care throughout our Diocese. Our Walking with Moms in Need initiative https://www.rcda.org/walkingwithmoms has taken many positive steps forward in response to the anticipated needs of a Burdett closure,” Bishop Scharfenberger added. “Now that Burdett will remain open, I encourage these productive conversations to continue as it will further benefit those in need. Let’s build on each other as we move forward, making sure no one walks alone. We are better and stronger together.”

Bishop Scharfenberger and the faithful in the Albany Diocese have been following the news of the center’s potential closure and resulting outcry from the public while brainstorming ideas on how to help since last summer. Last July, Bishop Scharfenberger released a statement saying closing the center could have a “chilling impact” on moms and babies. On Sept. 18, the Bishop submitted a written statement for the record as part of a hearing organized by New York Attorney General Tish James at Russell Sage College.
“If money can be found to keep Burdett operating, great. If not, let’s work together to find solutions,” Bishop Scharfenberger said at the time. “Let’s take that information and, instead of fighting each other for what we want, let’s also listen to each other, and work together to find solutions that can work for all.”

In November, the Diocese organized a synod session-style meeting to discuss potential ways to help families and mothers impacted by the center’s potential closure. In January, the Diocese of Albany —  as well as the Gabriel Project, Gianna of Albany, Respect Life of the Diocese of Albany, Miscarriage Ministry and others — met with SPHP representatives directly to discuss how they could help and what resources could be offered to mothers in need.

On Feb. 28, hundreds of protestors came out in support of keeping the center open at a public meeting, the first to be organized by St. Peter’s Health Partners at Hudson Valley Community College. St. Peter’s took questions for almost three hours, attempting to answer as many concerns as possible from the crowded meeting, held inside HVCC’s Bulmer Telecommunications Center


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