Coalition fights for new mothers & babies

June 2020: Windham Hospital (one of the 8 hospitals owned by Hartford HealthCare) closed its labor & delivery unit.  

Mothers in labor must now travel on rural two-lane roads for up to 30 miles to have babies at another hospital in Norwich or Hartford. Deliveries at Windham Hospital only happen in the Emergency room, if necessary. 

Windham Hospital is in a medically underserved part of the state. The immediate community around the hospital is low-income and predominantly Latinx, and surrounding towns are small and rural. There is little public transportation available.

To add insult to injury, Windham Hospital by-passed ignored state rules that require approval to terminate services via the Certificate of Need (CON) process. The hospital asked for permission in September 2020, well after they had stopped providing services.  

The state assessed a paltry fine of $65,000 for this infraction. 

The Fight Back: Universal is a leader in a diverse coalition* that has mounted a campaign to fight back. Windham United to Save Our Healthcare (WUSH) educates, activates, demonstrates, and elevates the stories of women and babies. The media is listening. The coalition earned state and national coverage - and the attention of legislators and Attorney General William Tong. 

WUSH rejects Windham Hospital’s claim that they had “no choice” but to do this. They call for the restoration of labor & delivery services at Windham Hospital and a plan to keep vital hospital services in the community. 

Even today, the state has not ruled on the CON application. The CON hearing happened in November 2021!  All this while, no babies are being delivered in Windham and the Hospital’s maternity unit lies empty.

The Windham fight is featured in national media

*including: Windham NAACP, Universal Health Care Foundation of CT, AFT (union representing hospital staff), Generations Family Health Center, many local activists and advocates, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Health Equity Solutions