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Missoula's St. Patrick Hospital Unveils New Family Maternity Center

Kathy Schaefer, regional director of women's health for Providence shows one of the new labor and delivery rooms at St. Patrick hospital in Missoula.
Eric Whitney
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Kathy Schaefer, regional director of women's health for Providence shows one of the new labor and delivery rooms at St. Patrick hospital in Missoula.

Missoula’s St. Patrick hospital invited the media to see its new family maternity center that opens Monday. Women’s Health Director Kathy Schaefer showed off one of the hospital’s seven rooms where moms will deliver babies.

"The mother is admitted into this room, and she stays in this room throughout the whole stay. When baby is born, baby also stays in this room through the whole stay," Schaefer explains.

The opening of the maternity center ends a long monopoly that St. Patrick’s competitor, Missoula Community Hospital, has had on delivering babies.

St. Patrick executive Joyce Dombrouski says health care markets are changing, and that’s why it’s now important for St. Pat’s to return to being a full service hospital and start delivering babies again.

"It has been early 1970s, so 40-plus years ago. I think they made a good decision at that time, but as usual things change in health care and here we are today being able to jump back into it," Duombrouski says.

Dombrouski declined to say how much the new maternity ward cost, but said the expense won’t impact the prices for any other services St Patrick offers.

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