Sen. Gordon Continues to Strongly Advocate for Full Maternity Care Access in Tolland & Windham Counties

September 19, 2023

 State Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-Woodstock), member of the Public Health Committee and practicing physician, today expressed his continued, strong support for full maternity care access, including childbirth services, in rural communities such as those in Tolland and Windham Counties. A recent story by the Associated Press detailed the growing problem of ‘maternity care deserts’ in rural counties across the nation, where area hospitals lack inpatient labor and delivery care services.


Senator Gordon has been a strong advocate for the preservation of such services when he opposed Johnson Memorial Hospital’s proposal to close its maternity ward in Stafford in July, and worked on solutions to preserve maternity care at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. Rockville General Hospital shuttered its maternity ward in 2010; Windham Hospital closed its inpatient service in 2020.


He said, “Maternal care is one of the most important components of healthcare. It is where life begins. Unless all mothers in this state have local access to this full spectrum of care, including childbirth care, we must continue to work toward that goal. Northeast Connecticut is a rural part of the state without much in the way of public transportation and with no direct, easy road connection between various hospitals. Those who know our area know that driving on our local roads at night or in inclement weather (such as during a snowstorm) is very challenging when needing urgent health care, including travel to Hartford or beyond. This challenge is multiplied when you consider the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy.”


Senator Gordon also cited the significant shortage of obstetricians and nurses in Connecticut as an underlying cause for the closures.


“I’ve spoken at length with our area’s hospitals and staffing is a big concern. There’s no question that we must recruit and retain more nurses and doctors to staff maternity wards across the state. That’s why I worked across the aisle this past session on workforce development, such as easing noncompete agreements so that hospitals can hire talent. I have also been working to streamline the licensing reciprocity compact for healthcare professionals among the various states including Connecticut. This will ensure an expanded candidate pool for hospitals to draw from.


“As a state senator and as a doctor, I continue to side with patient care that’s accessible for all residents in our district, including full women’s health care,” he said.