Montco hospital to stop delivering babies

Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton says it'll stop delivering babies by next June. Some 30 workers will be reassigned or laid off by then, the hospital said in a statement, adding that Mercy, owned by nonprofit operator Catholic Health Care East of Newtown Square, is the seventh PA hospital to shut its obstetrics unit since 2004.

OB/GYN doctors who use the hospital have to decide whether to stay as gynecologists or move their practices to one of seven nearby hospitals that still deliver, spokesman Brian Cole told me. "They're still processing" the news, he said.

The "difficult decision" to shut obstetrics "reflects the unfortunate market environment" for baby services in Pennsylvania, due to fewer births, higher costs and lower insurance reimbursement, Mercy said in the statement. Cole said the hospital made the announcement after telling neighboring hospitals in meetings today.