UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Awarded $600,000 in Funding for Labor & Delivery UnitDec 12, 2023
UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has received $600,000 to help finance expansion and remodeling of the labor and delivery unit. The funds are from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, part of the Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The Community Facilities and Service fund was awarded to the City of Grinnell with funding passed on to GRMC.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with UnityPoint Health – Grinnell to improve their facilities and services for maternal health care,” says Russ Behrens, Grinnell City Manager. “We understand that having these vital services in our hospital is necessary to sustaining a healthy and strong community.”
Pregnant women living in rural America face unprecedented barriers to maternity care. More than 100 rural hospitals throughout the country have closed since 2010. Of those that remain, 20% are at risk of closing, and many are choosing to shut down their obstetrics (OB) units due to the growing shortages of OB workforce and expertise in conjunction with low reimbursement and rising costs. In Iowa there were 79 hospitals with OB units in 2013; there are only 56 today, a decrease of nearly 30%.
GRMC is a recipient of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services’ maternal health Center of Excellence grant to establish Iowa’s framework to sustain access to high quality OB services for rural populations. Originally awarded for an initial planning period in December 2021, GRMC is on the third installment of the grant and a purposeful leader in rural maternal health care. A multi-disciplinary team including obstetrics and gynecology providers, nurses, lactation specialists and leaders at GRMC is focusing efforts on maternal health outreach with prenatal and postpartum clinic visits, lactation support and postpartum home visits. Additionally, GRMC is expanding the offering of prenatal and postpartum education and support groups.
"Our team’s dedication to providing high quality obstetrics care is instrumental in the achievement of this grant funding,” says Kyle Wilcox, interim chief executive officer, vice president of finance and operations at GRMC. “Funding will enable us to enhance the OB department at GRMC and improve the care we provide to expectant mothers and their families. Modernizing the unit and increasing our number of labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms is what’s best for our growing number of patients and deliveries we accommodate annually."
Currently GRMC is the only hospital with a labor and delivery unit Poweshiek, Marshall, Iowa and Tama counties. In 2020, 155 babies were born at GRMC, which increased to 202 babies in 2021 and 210 babies born at GRMC in 2022. To date in 2023, 229 babies have been delivered at GRMC, with more deliveries anticipated before the end of the year.
GRMC Foundation launched Delivering Our Future in June 2023, a capital campaign focused on raising funds for the GRMC OB department renovation to add a fourth labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) room as well as update existing rooms to accommodate the expected continuing upward trend of OB deliveries at GRMC. To date, funding secured for GRMC’s labor and delivery renovation project in awarded monies, cash and pledges totals $846,854.23 – with the latest CDBG award, GRMC has a combined $1.45 million, over the halfway mark toward their updated project goal of $2.5 million.
“The support we’ve received from our communities – from local businesses, individual donors, and Grinnell’s City Council and leaders – is essential to the continued strength of our hospital and clinics,” says Wilcox. “Each dollar raised is significant to our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve and keep the care they need close to home.”
To learn more about supporting GRMC's campaign to grow OB care, visit Delivering Our Future.