Kentucky Denies Permit for Hardin County Birthing Center

Aug 1, 2013

An administrative hearing officer has denied a permit for a proposed alternative birthing center in Elizabethtown.

The decision came months after a hearing in which Kris M. Carlton heard support and opposition for what would have been the first such facility in the state.

Certified nurse midwife Mary Carol Akers said women should be offered a choice while three area hospitals argued that the facility wasn't needed. The News-Enterprise reports Carlton ruled that the birthing center's business model and use projections weren't reasonable. She said Akers didn't show that there was a need in Elizabethtown for the facility and questioned whether women from Louisville would travel an hour to receive care.

"The fact that the clients would be expected, in many cases, to travel for periodic follow-up prenatal care, does not make the location seem feasible, and does not support the (center's) claim that the birthing center is needed in Elizabethtown," Carlton wrote.

The nearest birthing centers are in Indiana and Tennessee.

Akers did not return the newspaper's call seeking comment, but her attorney, J. Guthrie True, said he was "disappointed" with the decision. He said he did not know if his client would appeal.

Mathew Klein, an attorney representing hospitals that were opposed, said he believes Carlton expressed some of the same concerns as his clients.