The birth rate in the Roanoke Valley dropped 15.3 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to data from Virginia Health Information.
It’s not a trend unique to our region. Nationally the birth rate has also been declining.
But, as Dr. Alice Ackerman, the chairwoman of pediatrics at Carilion Clinic, points out, “The region’s birth rate is significantly lower than the U.S. rate.”
Ackerman addressed the declining rate in a letter to the Virginia Department of Health detailing her reasons for opposing LewisGale Regional Medical Center’s application for a neonatal intensive care unit.
“Due to the decreased birth rate in the region as well as our continuous commitment to quality improvement, Carilion Roanoke Memorial has experienced a steady decline since 2009 in NICU average deaily census, occupancy rate and average length of stay,” Ackerman wrote in the letter, which I received through a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request.
You can read the latest in that ongoing fight here, but I wanted use this blog entry to draw attention to the downward birth rate trend.
Below I’ve included some data on the number of births at area hospitals. The information comes from Thomas Reuters and was provided by Carilion as part of the public record in the NICU fight.
|ALLEGHANY REGIONAL HOSPITAL||1|
|CARILION FRANKLIN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL||267||252||268||230|
|CARILION MEDICAL CENTER||3,438||3,495||3,438||3,063|
|CARILION NEW RIVER VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER||1,180||1,188||1,065||1,007|
|CLINCH VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER||490||480||473||515|
|LEWIS-GALE MEDICAL CENTER||587||521||477||721|
|MEMORIAL HOSPITAL OF MARTINSVILLE AND HENRY COUNTY||542||557||495||493|
|MONTGOMERY REGIONAL HOSPITAL||527||488||494||552|
|NORTON COMMUNITY HOSPITAL||481||380||384||373|
|PULASKI COMMUNITY HOSPITAL||60|
|SMYTH COUNTY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL||299||283||242||177|
|TWIN COUNTY REGIONAL HOSPITAL||391||355||365||318|
|WELLMONT LONESOME PINE HOSPITAL||256||281||264||235|
|WYTHE COUNTY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL||241||235||242||273|