St. Francis plans to offer obstetrics services

St. Francis Hospital has plans to offer an obstetrics program.

Hospital officials will file a certificate of need with the state of Georgia by the end of November to allow the hospital to deliver babies. Services could begin in 2011.

Robert Granger, St. Francis president and chief executive officer, announced these plans Wednesday afternoon during a Rotary of Columbus meeting at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

Granger said the decision to pursue the program came after Doctors Hospital was purchased about a year and a half ago by Columbus Regional Healthcare System, which owns The Medical Center. The Medical Center and Doctors Hospital were the only two Columbus hospitals that offered baby delivery services. Granger said many local obstetricians approached them after the announcement with concerns that this was no longer a competitive situation, urging St. Francis to look into offering their own obstetrics program.

Granger said there is a possibility that St. Francis and Columbus Regional could enter a partnership to offer these services together. He said St. Francis will not make an “irreversible step” until all aspects of a possible partnership are explored.

“We believe that we owe it to the community to try to do it together if we can,” Granger said after the meeting.

The two organizations have jointly hired a consultant to analyze a possible partnership.

Come back to www.ledger-enquirer.com for updates on this story.