Cox Medical Center South is the only Springfield medical center recognized by the Hospital Engagement Network for stopping early elective deliveries (EED). Cox Medical Center Branson and Cox Monett are also included on the list of Missouri hospitals and medical centers that have committed to patient and newborn safety by not allowing early elective deliveries.
In recent years, CoxHealth has been a strong advocate against early elective deliveries (EED). An EED includes C-sections and induced labor with medication prior to a full-term pregnancy of 40-weeks. Data shows early elective deliveries can result in increased length of stays, higher rates of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admissions, breathing and feeding problems and health risks to mothers and babies.
Nearly four years ago, CoxHealth implemented a policy for all elective inductions prior to 39 weeks. The success of this patient safety initiative resulted in CoxHealth being invited to present its findings to the Missouri Hospital Association and the American Hospital Association in Chicago.
“Before any elective pre-term delivery can be scheduled, approval is required from the OB Department Chairman or the Perinatologist if the elective delivery does not meet medical necessity criteria,” says Beth Rutherford, Administrative Director of Nursing, CoxHealth. “We have had excellent results from this initiative.”
In 2010 19% of births at CoxHealth were early elective delivery. Today, that number has dropped to nearly 0%. “An early elective delivery prior to 39 weeks would only be allowed in certain medical situations for the safety of the mother and baby,” says Rhonda Donnelly, RN, Nurse Manager, Labor and Delivery, CoxHealth. “That would include diabetes or gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or preeclampsia.”
Patient safety drives policy change. “We are doing what’s right for baby and mother,” says Donnelly. “For newborns, the increased risks of elective early delivery include breathing problems and conditions such as cerebral palsy, which all increase a baby’s chance to be admitted to the NICU. As a result of this policy, CoxHealth has not admitted a single early elective deliver to the NICU for two years.”
CoxHealth has 1,350 deliveries each year at its facilities in Springfield, Branson and Monett.