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INDIANAPOLIS — Riley Hospital for Children is pushing back the start date for its highly-anticipated maternity unit.

Because of rising COVID-19 cases and the toll it’s taking on hospital workers, Riley Hospital for Children is delaying the grand opening of the Riley Maternity Tower, which was initially set to open this month.  

“A decision like the one IU Health made to delay the opening is not surprising because this wave and health care shortages have really disrupted the operations of hospitals across the state, across the nation really,” said Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association.

The maternity tower will centralize all inpatient childbirth and newborn care offered at three downtown Indiana University Health hospitals.

Riley Hospital denied a request for interview and issued a statement saying in part, “University health has decided to delay the opening to late October or early November to ensure patient safety.” 

Tabor says the rising number of cases is directly impacting patients.  

“We are putting off often critical health care when we have to make critical choices like we are today,” Tabor said.

“When I heard the word, it was like ‘ugh,’” said Karin Ogden, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana. “We trust our hospital partners at Riley, and it was the right decision to be made.”

She says the opening of its brand new location inside the maternity tower is also delayed, something Ogden says is difficult after COVID has added extra stress for families.  

“With that extra layer of COVID and extra worry, you bet there’s more need for rest and comfort,” Ogden explained.

The Ronald McDonald House says they’re working to support families and IU Health care workers as we get through this tough time.