Press Releases & Announcements

New Milford Hospital Family Birth Center Transition

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 - New Milford, CT

Q:What is this Family Birth Center transition application about?

A:As part of our ongoing review of services - and to position our Network to most effectively serve our region - Western Connecticut Health Network has filed an application or Certificate of Need (CON) with the State Department of Public Health to relocate the obstetrical delivery services currently at New Milford Hospital to Danbury Hospital's Family Birth Center. Prenatal and post natal care would remain in the New Milford community through highly skilled and experienced practitioners. We make this application to ensure the safest and best care for mothers and babies and to fortify our promise to provide the services our community needs today and in the future.

Q:Why do you need to close the New Milford Hospital Family Birthing Center?

A:The decision to relocate birthing services was based on the low number of births at New Milford Hospital and is reinforced by demographic facts and trends, birthing preferences of parents and the financial viability of sustaining a program with such low volume.

The birth rate in Litchfield County, Connecticut, and across the U.S. has continued to decline over several years. Because our region has one of the lowest birth rates in the country, our birth center at New Milford Hospital is under utilized. Only 243 babies were born at New Milford Hospital in fiscal year 2012. By comparison, more than 2,000 babies were born at Danbury Hospital in the same time period. Currently, more than 50% of New Milford mothers choose to deliver their babies at Danbury Hospital. Demographics indicate these trends will only continue.

The nationally-recognized, recently-refurbished Family Birth Center at Danbury Hospital offers a new and large, state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Level lllb) within 15 minutes of New Milford. If the approval is given to relocate the New Milford Hospital Birthing Center, we will work to make the transition for patients smooth, safe and comfortable.

Q:What will happen if I go into labor and there is no time to get to Danbury Hospital?

A: Statistics indicate that over 90-95% of births are generally uncomplicated with no emergency involved. Our planning for this proposed relocation of birthing services included extensive research of best practices and scenario planning for optimal patient outcomes. We will address the proposed transition in a considerate and responsible way to provide for the safety of every mother and every baby entrusted to us. We are, today, conducting comprehensive training with staff at both hospitals as well as within the EMS community. If an expectant mother arrives at New Milford Hospital, she will be evaluated in the Emergency Department and, if needed, carefully transported by ambulance to Danbury Hospital with highly-trained and attentive staff ready for the short trip.

Q: How are emergency and first responders being trained to handle any unusual situation?

A: We have conducted educational sessions on obstetrical and neonatal emergencies for area EMS providers. New Milford Hospital emergency physicians are able to provide real time radio communication with pre-hospital providers to assist them with treatment and transport decisions. A multidisciplinary planning committee encompassing physician leadership from Labor and Delivery, Department of Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Care and Emergency Medical Services personnel has developed protocols with area ambulance services to safely and rapidly transfer patients from the New Milford Hospital Emergency Department to Danbury Hospital.

Q: If you receive the necessary approvals from the Department of Public Health (DPH), what is the timing for relocating the program?

A: We continue to plan for the smooth and safe transition of every patient. Should DPH approve our application, we will begin to implement a careful and thorough transition likely within two to four weeks following the decision.

Q: What will happen to the staff at New Milford's family Birth Center?

A: We want to acknowledge and thank the staff of the New Milford Hospital Family Birth Center. This dedicated team - some of whom have worked with us for over twenty years - has made the best of a difficult situation. We asked our nurses to stay with us through this process and provided them with additional financial support to secure this commitment. Because New Milford and Danbury Hospitals are distinct entities serviced by two nursing unions we cannot simply transfer nurses from one location to the other. Nurses who wish to relocate to Danbury Hospital may complete the standard application and interview process at each institution. At this time, Danbury Hospital is waiting to fill several open positions in hopes that interested New Milford nurses will apply once this transition is complete. We encourage and hope they will consider this alternative.

Q: What are other plans for New Milford Hospital?

A: We continue to analyze the areas of greatest need for patients at New Milford Hospital. We remain committed to provide the right care at the right time and in the right place.

Our pledge to our community is evidenced by:

  • expanded regional cancer services in a thriving cancer center filled with new physicians, equipment and patients.
  • recently announced plans for a new, $10.8 Emergency Department that includes accommodations for emergency births.
  • state-of-the-art laboratory drawing station that recently opened in northern New Milford
  • expanded access to primary care with additional practitioners at a new (relocated) office in southern New Milford
  • $5m investment in facility enhancements including new software and information systems as well as updates to our buildings

Q: Where can I go if I have questions or want to learn more about Danbury Hospital's Family Birthing Center?

A: Please contact the Danbury Hospital Birthing Center staff directly at 203-739-7012 or visit

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premiere, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women's health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive and joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.