With the announcement Tuesday that Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco will do away with its obstetrics department at the end of June, many wonder what effect it will have on the rest of the community? Will it make it harder for Pasco-area residents to find obstetric care for deliveries?

Lourdes officials said its closing the unit in part because of pending changes coming from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and because obstetric services are duplicated at other hospitals in the area. Hospital officials also said some medical services across the country and here in the Mid-Columbia are shrinking while others are growing.

The network plans to close its Connell clinic at the end of the budget period as well. It is estimated between 50-65 workers will lose their jobs, including 24 directly related to the birthing unit. The hospital plans to partner with KGH, Kadlec, and other facilities in the region to have their OBGYN doctors deliver babies at those facilities.

According to Lourdes hospital data, about 400 babies were delivered at the center each year. Many are now wondering what impact that will have on other facilities, and if it will make it more difficult for Pasco-area residents when it's their time to deliver. The facility will continue to offer outpatient pre- and post-natal care at its facility on Wrigley Drive in West Pasco.