Press Releases

Office of Health Strategy





December 1, 2023


(HARTFORD, CT) -- The Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS) has rendered a Final Decision by way of an Agreed Settlement in Hartford Healthcare’s Windham Community Memorial Hospital, Inc. Certificate of Need application. The settlement approves the request to terminate the hospital’s inpatient obstetric services if Windham studies the need for and feasibility of a birthing center and agrees to operate one if needed. Windham Hospital’s application has been approved with significant conditions to ensure continued access to affordable healthcare for residents of the Windham community.

The predominant condition of the settlement agreement requires Windham Hospital to hire an independent third party to complete an assessment of the need for and feasibility of a birth center in the Windham area. If determined that a birth center is needed and feasible, Windham must either find a provider to operate the center or operate it themselves through a non-hospital affiliate.

Birth centers are free standing facilities that provide high-quality, low-cost birthing care in a homelike environment to birthing mothers who have low risk pregnancies.

“Together with Windham Hospital, we carefully crafted this settlement to ensure the healthcare of birthing parents is not compromised by the termination”, Dr. Deidre Gifford, Executive Director of the Office of Health Strategy said. “The conditions will allow for a safe and patient focused experience, ensuring that Windham residents have continued access to prenatal and postpartum services though the Windham Women’s Health Clinic, through free emergent and non-emergent transportation for the birthing parent and their support companion to the hospital of their choice, and access to the nurse visiting program post childbirth through the Family Bridge pilot program. These are some of the conditions placed on this approval to safeguard healthcare access for birthing individuals.”

“Windham Hospital’s decision to end childbirth services there has always been about providing safe and sustainable care for women and babies. The state Office of Health Strategy’s settlement with the hospital underscores our commitment to a safe childbirth experience, while acknowledging the existing and enhanced pre- and post-natal programs and services we continue to provide,” said Donna Handley, President of Windham and Backus Hospitals. “Our ongoing programs include transportation, a nurse navigator program to coordinate care, and access to childbirth at Backus Hospital, with its award-winning maternity services and upgraded NICU. We look forward to establishing a training program for certified doulas, and to working with the state and other partners in providing the safest care possible.” 

CON applications must meet statutory criteria, including demonstrating that the proposal will improve quality, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery in the region. The Final Decision finds that, with the conditions imposed, the applicant meets applicable CON guidelines and principles set forth in C.G.S. § 19a-639(a).

To protect access to women’s healthcare, Windham has agreed to comply with the following OHS conditions outlined in the Agreed Settlement:

  • Windham will continue to provide comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care at the Windham Women’s Health Clinic, facilitate access to community resources and other wrap-around services and will not terminate such services without prior notice to and approval by OHS.


  • Windham will engage in Community education and develop an outreach plan to communicate to members of the Windham community the ongoing availability of women’s health services at Windham and throughout the Hartford Healthcare (“HHC”) system.


  • Windham will provide free emergent and non-emergent transportation services for birthing people and their support person(s) to and from the hospital for pre-delivery examinations, labor and delivery, and post-delivery visitation.


  • Windham will retain an Independent Third Party (ITP) with demonstrated experience, background and expertise in birth centers and the areas of maternal health care, community health, and the assessment of population health needs to undertake, complete, and publicly issue an independent assessment and report to determine the need for, and the feasibility of, a freestanding birth center in the Windham community. (See Public Act No. 23-147).


  • If a birth center is deemed needed and feasible by the ITP, Windham will assist in finding a provider to establish a birth center in the Windham area.


  • If Windham finds a provider, they will independently negotiate any financial or other support arrangements for establishing the birth center.


  • If Windham cannot find an independent provider, they will either establish, operate and maintain a birth center through a non-hospital affiliate or propose an alternative solution.


  • If OHS does not approve the alternative solution, then Windham will establish, operate and maintain a birth center through a non-hospital affiliate. 


  • Per Public Act 23-147, a birth center is exempt from CON process if it accepts Medicaid patients.


Upon both parties signing this agreement, OHS and Windham will meet to outline a Statement of Work to establish the criteria and work plan for the study. The independent third party must begin their assessment within 30 days after the Department of Public Health publishes their birth center policies and procedures.



Contact: Tina Kumar-Hyde, Director of Communications

Connecticut Office of Health Strategy


Cell: (860) 969.7228