WRAL Investigates

Cary birthing center agrees to state inspection

Posted April 19, 2018 4:33 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2018 6:45 p.m. EDT

— State regulators have worked out the parameters of an inspection of a Cary birthing center where three babies have died since October.

Baby+Co. halted all deliveries last month after a fourth newborn was rushed to Duke University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit after showing distress during delivery at the Cary center. Midwives from the center are now seeing expectant mothers at WakeMed Cary.

The company, which operates six birthing centers nationwide, including facilities in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, is reviewing all protocols to determine if changes are needed, officials said.

Although the North Carolina Board of Nursing handles complaints against nurse midwives, there is no official state oversight of birthing centers in North Carolina.

Officials with the state Division of Health Services Regulation negotiated with Baby+Co. officials about participating in a voluntary review.

Letters back and forth between the agency and Baby+Co. over the past two weeks show that the company initially said regulators couldn't compel employees to submit to interviews. But they relented and agreed to require employees to participate after DHSR called it one of several "non-negotiable tasks essential to any review."

Regulators also will examine patient records without violating confidentiality, employee credentials, center protocols and medical oversight.

No date has been set for the inspection.

The findings will be public record, but the state has no legal authority to force changes or impose any fines or other discipline on Baby+Co.