DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – DeKalb County residents rallied outside of the Parkview DeKalb Hospital Sunday afternoon. This followed an announcement from Parkview Health that Parkview DeKalb and Parkview LaGrange hospitals will no longer be offering labor and delivery services starting sometime in September.

Parkview made the announcement on August 18th, citing “ongoing challenges in ensuring sustainable access to high-quality obstetrics services” at rural hospitals across the country as a reason for the decision.

Mothers who have given birth at Parkview DeKalb Hospital as well as supporters of midwives and nurses rallied from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Jennifer Vian, organizer of the rally, said she would like to see the decision reversed, and data used to support the organization’s decision to end their labor and delivery services.

“Our midwives and staff here have built their reputation over decades. And so for them to just shut it down without providing clear numbers, clear statistics, or clear reasons why is quite infuriating actually, it makes it seem like it’s all about money,” Vian said.

Vian said she’s frustrated that the community was unaware that the labor and delivery services were being canceled until now.

When the services are dismissed sometime in September from Parkview DeKalb and Parkview LaGrange hospitals, Parkview Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Fort Wayne will become the closest Parkview Health Hospital to DeKalb County residents.

Jozelynn VanderHorst is the daughter of Stephanie VanderHorst, a nurse midwife and co-owner of the Auburn Birthing Center. She said she rallied Sunday to support the midwives who are losing their jobs.

“They were given less than a month and now not only the workers are having to find new jobs because they’re just being straight up fired the patients are also able having to re-plan their births less than a month before they deliver, that’s ridiculous,” VanderHorst said. “Many of them had birth plans before they even got pregnant.”

VanderHorst also said the transport from DeKalb County to PRMC could be too long for women in labor, especially those who don’t realize they’re in labor right away, or those for the process goes by quickly.

“We are going to have an increase of babies delivered on I-69 because of this shift, and that’s terrifying,” VanderHorst said. “How are we going to get women to and from Parkview in Fort Wayne, and not even that in DeKalb County, but women in Angola are also having to drive all the way to Fort Wayne because they also shut down the Lagrange OB, it’s just genuinely disgusting.”

Cathryn Forker is a mother who gave birth four months ago at Parkview DeKalb. She was scheduled to deliver her daughter at the Auburn Birthing Center, but delivered at Parkview DeKalb due to labor complications.

“She had to be revived, but through all of that the care was just incredible, and I can’t even imagine having a baby somewhere else after that experience,” Forker said.

Parkview Health said in the announcement that they will implement a new healthcare model that aims to provide high-quality prenatal and postnatal care.

We reached out to Parkview for an on-camera interview last week.

Monday, Parkview sent us this statement:

To provide the best possible care for moms and babies across our health system, Parkview Health is proactively consolidating labor and delivery services. We are working with all affected mothers and their families to make this transition as smooth as possible.

We understand change can be difficult, and we appreciate those who are sharing their questions and concerns.

Once again, WANE 15 has asked for an on-camera interview.