BROKEN BOW—Babies will be back in Broken Bow beginning December 1 at Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center (JMMMMC). Following last week’s ribbon cutting and open house to welcome back labor and delivery services to the area, Custer Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Andrew Ambriz broke down some of the numbers surrounding this reintroduction and its economic impact on the area.
Ambriz said having labor and delivery back in Custer County is huge for the area in terms of growing local families, safety and security, and also financially.
“It’s a huge deal to be able to keep that care locally from a financial standpoint but let’s not forget safety and security,” Ambriz said referring to many families having to spend less time on the road during a pregnancy.
Based on U.S. Census data, Broken Bow alone averages 35 babies per year, meaning 35 families need medical care and would previously be required to travel out of town. Ambriz continued in a press release that on average, a family would travel 160 miles round trip for prenatal care in cities such as Hastings, North Platte, Grand Island, or Kearney. Following 15 clinic visits, Ambriz concluded approximately 2,500 miles are traveled which leads to hundreds of dollars spent on gas.
Assuming that each family consists of two parents (other children not accounted for in this example), they will spend–on average Ambriz emphasizes–$20 on a meal, $50 at a grocery store, and about $15 on an impulse buy which could lead to about $1,275 spent out of town during an average pregnancy. With labor and delivery returning to JMMMMC, the typical person can save approximately $1,500.
“Having this unit here in Broken Bow can save a family—just a husband and wife delivering a child—$1,500 in the process of having a child,” Ambriz said.
Before discontinuing the service in 2017, JMMMMC was delivering anywhere from 54 to more than 100 babies per year, Ambriz stated in a press release. He reiterates these numbers are based on averages and that there is variance and exceptions to the rules.