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St. Luke's Jerome suspends some services due to staff shortages

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Doctor shortage Jerome

St. Luke's Jerome, seen in May 2018.

JEROME — St. Luke’s Jerome Medical Center has suspended obstetric and operating room services because of a staffing shortfall, the hospital said Wednesday. The suspension is effective immediately.

St. Luke’s said the suspension was because of “limitations in obstetric-trained staffing.”

“Maintaining staffing levels is essential to our commitment to safety and supporting services at St. Luke’s Jerome,” said Arlen Blaylock, chief operating officer/CNO for St. Luke’s Magic Valley and St. Luke’s Jerome, in a statement. “We are seeing staffing challenges due to a lack of available specialty-trained staff and we are actively working to resolve them. We appreciate the community’s understanding and look forward to reinstating these services as soon as possible.”

All other services provided at St. Luke’s Jerome, including the emergency department and inpatient care, will remain fully operational.

Prenatal OB outpatient appointments will still continue at St. Luke’s Clinic—Jerome Family Medicine.

OB and OR services will be available for patients at St. Luke’s Magic Valley.

In a July 8 press release, St. Luke’s said the health care system is adding the COVID-19 vaccine to its existing list of required immunizations for employees, providers, contractors, students and volunteers.

Health care organizations have long had trouble with staffing in rural parts of Idaho.

A 2018 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges placed Idaho 49th in the nation for the number of physicians per capita.

Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls counties are all federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas in primary care. Low-income residents in Jerome and Gooding counties are particularly underserved, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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