"While we are sad to make this decision, the reality is that we can't offer obstetric services if we don't have enough physicians to safely provide care to our patients," Wee said. "Cascade Healthcare Community is working with PMH to provide the best service we can under these circumstances."

Approximately 150 babies are born at PMH annually. In 2007 the hospital saw a record number of 172 births, while in 2008, 137 babies were born at the Prineville facility.

"We have treasured our role in welcoming new members of the Prineville community at PMH through the years," Wee said. "And while we are sad to give up this service, we believe it is crucial to protect patient safety."

PMH is looking into offering new and expanded health services in the space currently occupied by labor and delivery in the hospital. PMH's goal is to maintain prenatal care in the Prineville community.

About Pioneer Memorial HospitalPioneer Memorial Hospital (PMH) in Prineville has served the people of Crook County since June of 1950. PMH is a 25-bed acute care, Critical Access Hospital and employs approximately 185 caregivers.

PMH is a proud member of Cascade Healthcare Community, Inc. CHC is headquartered in Bend, Oregon. CHC also owns and operates the St. Charles medical centers in Bend and Redmond, and provides management services for Mountain View Hospital (MVH) in Madras.

CHC is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,000 caregivers in Bend, Redmond and Prineville. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with CHC to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.