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Chatham Hospital in Siler City is delivering babies for the first time in 28 years with a vision of revitalizing health care in rural North Carolina.
The effort is fueled with support from UNC Health, which purchased the hospital in 2008, and a desire to train family physicians and keep them in rural communities.
But there is risk: Over 130 rural hospitals nationwide have closed within the past decade and offering a new service line as hospitals continue to recover from COVID-related financial losses is a big gamble.
Despite the risks, after spending $2.6 million to build UNC Chatham’s Maternity Care Center, and an expectation to deliver as many as 120 babies in the first year, UNC Health is optimistic the center will be a success for the system and rural health care.