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Phoenix Indian hospital abruptly shuts down birthing center

For months, Rochelle Chee diligently went to the Phoenix Indian Medical Center for prenatal checkups.

She knew a midwife and other staff there well and felt confident in the idea of going to the facility to deliver her first baby, who was growing big, in the 90th percentile for his gestational age.

That’s why the Navajo woman was shocked when, at 40 weeks pregnant, she learned the hospital had shut down its obstetrics services with no prior notice.

“I was stressed the whole time as I have been seeing PIMC throughout my whole pregnancy and last minute, I had to go elsewhere,” said Chee, 30. “My baby and I felt abandoned.”

The sudden closure of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center obstetrics, or OB-GYN, services on Aug. 26 has left dozens of expectant moms like Chee scrambling to seek birthing services elsewhere — and some facing unexpected, steep costs. Some say they’ve received conflicting explanations and unclear guidance on what to do next.

The federal Indian Health Service said…
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