Right now, if a children get sick in the Cadillac region, they can be hospitalized as an inpatient at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital. Beginning in May, those kids will be sent to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City or Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Dr. Gerald Herring, a pediatrician at Mackinaw Trail Pediatrics in Cadillac, says in-patient care is ending because there aren’t enough pediatricians.
"The driving force with this is just lack of providers," says Herring. "It’s been very hard to recruit pediatricians to our area.”
Herring says this is a challenge for hospitals in smaller communities.
Dr. Joe Santangelo, vice president of medical affairs at the Cadillac hospital, says they will continue providing emergency pediatric care and birthing services. So, he says, ending pediatric inpatient care won’t affect most of the children they serve. In 2016, 4,500 kids came to the emergency room. Of those kids, fewer than 200 needed inpatient services. That's less than five percent.
“The challenge then will be for a family who has a child who needs to be admitted overnight, who then needs to be transferred to a different facility,” says Santangelo.
He says the hospital is considering providing transportation or gas cards to families in that situation. He says hospitals encourage parents to stay overnight with their kids.