Thursday, October 9, 2014

CoxHealth’s three birthing hospitals recognized for eliminating early-elective inductions

Cox Monett

CoxHealth is the only hospital system in the state to be recognized at all of its birthing hospitals by the March of Dimes and the Missouri Hospital Association for eliminating elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

This achievement was recognized through a banner from the March of Dimes and Missouri Hospital Association (MHA). The banners were recently presented to the Labor and Delivery Departments of each hospital.

A total of 68 birthing hospitals in Missouri were eligible to apply for the honor, according to Trina Ragain, state director of program services, advocacy and government affairs, March of Dimes Missouri Chapter. Ragain said 25 hospitals applied and met the criteria and out of those 25, 19 had an early elective delivery rate of 0%. CoxHealth has approximately 4,900 births each year at its birthing facilities in Springfield, Branson and Monett.

The March of Dimes says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full-term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who saw this opportunity to improve care in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Beth Rutherford, Administrative Director of Nursing, CoxHealth.

Cox South

Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are extremely important. Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” Ragain said. “The March of Dimes commends CoxHealth for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

“We know that the last weeks of pregnancy are vitally important in a baby’s development,” said Tracey Williams, RN, director of OB Women’s Services. “At Cox Medical Center Branson, we eliminated early elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries in the best interest of the babies we deliver and are honored to be recognized by the March of Dimes for this effort.”

Cox Branson

A two-year partnership between the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) is achieving its goal of significantly reducing early elective deliveries (EEDs) by the end of 2014. Of the 46 participating birthing hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate of five percent or less and 61 percent have had no EEDs in the last six months of reported data.

Additionally, of the 46 hospitals, 87 percent now have a “hard stop” policy in place which establishes strict medical guidelines for when a physician may schedule a delivery. Only 35 percent had a hard stop policy in place before the MHA/March of Dimes collaboration began. The policy prohibits doctors from scheduling a delivery – either by induction or cesarean section – before the baby is at a confirmed 39 weeks gestation. The policy applies to non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries only.

“In the best interests of the health of mothers and infants, Missouri's hospitals have been working to reduce early elective deliveries,” said Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. “This is one of many quality improvements they are aggressively pursuing to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower costs.”

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