Local hospitals and birthing groups already seeing increase in patients as Catholic Health suspends services


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local hospitals and health care groups are already seeing an increase in folks interested in their services — especially birthing services.

FIKA midwifery, located on Virginia Street in Buffalo, has been getting an influx of phone calls from families interested in their services this week.

“So we are just another option for prenatal and birth care here in the Buffalo and Western New York area. I know many families are concerned about the safety of giving birth in hospitals that may have some short staffing issues. I think at midwifery we have a much smaller client load. We offered totally different services that are really tailored to the individual. During birth, you have two people a midwife and a birth assistant that are focused on you. It’s not like at the hospital where you are seeing a provider who is working on ten other patients at once,” Mary Badame, FIKA midwifery.

This uptick in interest, is in part, due to the health care worker vaccine requirement and Catholic Health temporarily canceling their delivery and labor services at Mercy Hospital.

“In the past week, we’ve had a few people call, particularly Monday when the mandate went into effect and then with the word of some area hospitals possibly going on strike. People have been calling. People want to know that they’re going to be taken care of in birth — that there is going to be people directly responsible for their clinical care,” Badame added.

On a larger scale, Kaleida Health has already started seeing some spillover from the temporary cancellation of Mercy Hospital services.

In a statement today, a Kaleida Health spokesperson said they’ve seen an uptick in delivery services at Oishei Children’s Hospital. They’ve also seen an impact from the diversion of ambulance services at Mercy.

They’re getting more cardiac and stroke patients at the Gates Vascular Institute. And, the Emergency Department volume has uptick at Buffalo General, Children’s, Suburban and DeGraff Hospitals as well.

The Kaleida spokesperson says, even though there’s been an uptick in volume — it has been manageable.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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