Council Connect Articles

PHC Holds Symposium on Rural Maternity Care


  • Partnership HealthPlan of California 
  • Representatives from hospitals and health care partners in partnership counties 
  • California Health Care Foundation  
  • CHA and Hospital Council staff


Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) held a one-day symposium on Feb. 12 about the lack of maternity services in rural areas and the threat of additional closures. Hospitals face significant challenges including low volumes of births, difficulty recruiting staff, and the cost of modernizing or adding operating rooms.

Held in two locations simultaneously, PHC brought California and national experts to the table, along with a broad spectrum of care providers:

  • Katy Backes-Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA, division of health policy & management director of Rural Health Research Center and Rural Health Program 
  • Kristof Stremikis, director of market analysis and insight at California Health Care Foundation 
  • Lissette Brown, RN, chief clinical officer at Plumas District Hospital 
  • Tiffany Leonhardt, director of business development at Plumas District Hospital 
  • Lori Link, MSN, CNM, director of midwifery at Plumas District Hospital 
  • Holly Smith, CNM, MPH, FACNM, California Nurse Midwives Foundation policy consultant and Midwifery Integration Project lead,  
  • Alinea Stevens, MD, MPH, medical director of Chapa-De Indian Health 
  • Sandra Lowry, Yurok tribal citizen 
  • Carrie Griffin, MD, prenatal and reproductive health care at K’ima:w Medical Center and United Indian Health Services 
  • Colleen Townsend, PhD, regional medical director of Partnership HealthPlan of California

Takeaway/Next Steps

There was universal agreement that paramedic and hospital personnel training to care for unplanned deliveries is much needed in areas where maternity services are unavailable. Hospital Council will work with PHC to find ways to complete that training.


RVP T Abraham at