Faith Leaders Demand - Save Burdett Birth Center!

NYS Department of Health Officials

Recently, Samaritan Hospital and Trinity Health Partners announced that they would be closing Burdett Birth Center. This closure would result in the complete absence of maternity care in Rensselaer County, and put additional pressures and stress on nearby hospitals that are not equipped to handle an influx of patients.

The Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition has formed to push back against this attack on our community.
Clergy and faith leaders, please add your name to the below letter, which will be sent to Department of Health officials who have the ability and power to stop this closure.

The letter below will be sent to the following officials. We encourage you to write them individually as well.

James McDonald, Commissioner of Health -

Megan Baldwin, Office of Commissioner -

Ursula Bauer, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health -

John Morley, Director, Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management

Jennifer Treacy, Deputy Director, Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management

Johanne Morne, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Health Equity and Human Rights

Marilyn Kacica, Medical Director, Division of Family Health, Center for Community Health

Khalil Alshaer, Office of Health Insurance Programs

Douglas Fish, Medical Director, Office of Health Insurance Programs

To: NYS Department of Health Officials
From: Joe Celestin

Dear NYS Health Official –

As leaders of faith communities, one of our greatest joys is welcoming new children and families into our congregations. Relatedly, we are acutely aware of the challenges and long-term traumas involved in all stages of maternal and childhood healthcare. Our communities celebrate with new parents and mourn with families suffering incredible tragedies.

It is with these experiences in mind that we join our voices with the wider Capital Region community to ask you to Save Burdett Birth Center in Troy. It is our moral obligation to care for our communities, and we know that strong maternal health services are integral to the success and thriving of our entire society. It is our task to make sure we celebrate with our communities far more than we mourn.

Burdett Birth Center provides essential Maternity Care to the community through a Midwife-led, OB collaborative model of care. This model of care is statistically proven to produce the best outcomes for parents and babies. The closure of Burdett would have deeply negative effects on birthing people and their families in Rensselaer County and the entire Capital District.

If this closure is allowed, it will leave the already underserved city of Troy and the hundreds of thousands of rural residents in the surrounding area without an acute maternity care facility. While Burdett Birth Center is available to all members of the community, 51% of its patients receive Medicaid and this closure will have the most negative impacts on poor and working-class communities. This closure would also leave residents of the whole region without the option of midwifery-led, OB collaborative care that Burdett uniquely offers. This will be a disaster for public health and would be yet another example of how profit-driven healthcare is destroying communities. This is not a Rensselaer County issue – it is a Capital Region, statewide, and national issue of the corporatization of healthcare at the cost of evidence-based, intervention-reducing and cesarean-reducing maternity care.

We urge you to do everything in your power to stop the closure of this vital birth center and protect the people in our community. Thank you.


The Undersigned