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Inspira Health Network to Cease Maternity Services at Elmer Location. Cooperative President & CEO Interviewed by KYW News Radio

February 28, 2024 - By Racquel Williams, KYW Newsradio

Inspira Health to relocate its Salem County maternity care center

Inspira will stop treating maternal patients at its Elmer location in April

ELMER, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Salem County will soon become the second county in New Jersey without a hospital-based maternity care center.

Citing patient decline with two-thirds of Salem County residents going to its Vineland and Mullica Hill locations for their maternity needs, Inspira Health has announced it will be relocating its maternity care facility in Elmer. Spokesperson Kathy Scullin Marinelli says they remain committed to delivery of high quality safe experience for maternity patients.

“If a patient should present for emergency maternity care in Salem County, we have an EMS team stationed in Elmer and will continue to continue to serve this community as we have for many years,” she said.

Studies show that ensuring access to maternal care can improve infant mortality rates. However, rural Salem’s population of about 65,000 and Inspira’s five-bed maternity unit in Elmer reflect a lack of an urgent need.Helen Hannigan, president and CEO of Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, says her organization does understand Inspira’s decision.

“We do know that Elmer has served a low-risk population and many individuals do choose Elmer who do not live in Salem County,” she said.

Still, Hannigan says she needs to see providers in the prenatal period and the postpartum period really connecting with their patients.

“For all of the outcomes we're looking to enrich and improve for patients, planning communication [and] self-efficacy is so critical, and this is a new challenge for some members of the community,” she said.

Vineland and Mullica Hill are only 11 and 15 miles from Elmer, but Hannigan says this can present a barrier to maternity care for some. “When we think of the services at a county level, Elmer is an important resource and one we will certainly miss,” she said.

Cape May also lacks a hospital-based maternity care center facility. Elmer will stop treating maternal patients sometime in April.


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