Lexington Medical Center announced that it will be ending its labor and delivery services in the next few months, according to reporting from Carolina Public Press.
Wake Forest Baptist Health CEO Julie Ann Freischlag said in a press release that, “We hope those in the Lexington community understand that this was a difficult but necessary decision that will help us better meet the needs of people here in Davidson County.” The closest option for mothers-to-be in Lexington is now Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, a half hour drive.
The Lexington closure follows suit with many other rural hospitals across the state, citing a lower number of regular deliveries. Women in the mountains of North Carolina may have to drive more than an hour in order to receive obstetrics and gynecological services.
Some two dozen workers from Lexington Medical Center, primarily nurses, will be seeking new work.
Rural hospitals have continued shuttering, especially in states that have not expanded Medicaid. 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain coverage if the Tar Heel state accepts federal funding to expand Medicaid. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has advocated for expansion while Republican leaders in the General Assembly have opposed it.