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Langley maternity ward to stay open after staff shortages avoided, Air Force says

By KATHERINE HAFNER | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: February 25, 2019

HAMPTON, Va. (Tribune News Service) — The maternity ward at Langley Air Force Base Hospital will stay open after all — at least for now, according to the Air Force.

"Langley hospital is currently open for obstetrics care for pregnant patients," Air Force spokesman Maj. Nicholas Mercurio said in an email Monday morning.

Starting early this year, patients had been referred to other hospitals in Hampton Roads because of "projected staffing limitations," Mercurio said in the email.

"However, Langley hospital was able to curtail this projected shortage and has stopped actively referring expectant mothers at this time," he wrote. "Patients are encouraged to contact their medical team directly with questions as each case is unique."

But he added that future staff shortages could result in more referrals.

Several local health providers and a patient at Langley told The Virginian-Pilot last month that women due after March 30 were being referred to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth — the closest military hospital — or private practices. Some moms said on social media that health insurance was also becoming an issue, with private providers turning away some depending on their Tricare plan.

"It's just leaving a lot of women in a situation where they are scrambling to find an OB that will take their transfer of care," Susan Boyd, a pregnant Langley patient whose husband is active duty Air Force, said in a text message last month. "The popular OB practices that spouses constantly recommend are filling up fast."

At the time, a Langley spokesman referred to the base transitioning "to a new model of health care delivery," but he never clarified what that meant. He did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday morning.

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