Cox Medical Center Branson is one of three CoxHealth hospitals recognized for eliminating elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. 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 Cox Medical Center Branson President William Mahoney.
“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.”
This achievement was recognized through a banner from the March of Dimes and Missouri Hospital Association (MHA). The banner, which was recently presented to Cox Branson’s Labor and Delivery Department, will be displayed at the hospital.
Cox Medical Center South in Springfield and Cox Monett have also both been honored for their efforts to reduce the number of early elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries. Across the CoxHealth system, the number of early elective deliveries is 0%.
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 is the only hospital system in the state to be recognized at all of its birthing hospitals.
CoxHealth has approximately 4,900 births each year at its facilities in Springfield, Branson and Monett.
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 Cox Medical Center Branson for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”
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.”
More information is available at marchofdimes.org/39weeks.
About Cox Medical Center Branson: Cox Medical Center Branson is part of the CoxHealth system and is conveniently located on Branson Landing Boulevard near Highway 65 in Branson. The 165 licensed bed hospital first opened its doors in 1950. The Branson campus includes the hospital, outpatient center, cancer center, helicopter landing pad, emergency department, urgent care, and a medical office plaza. Specialty and primary care clinics are also located in Branson, Branson West and Kimberling City. Cox Medical Center Branson benefits from the philanthropic efforts of Skaggs Foundation, which raises money for hospital and community health projects for the Branson Tri-lakes area. More information about Cox Medical Center Branson is provided at CoxHealth.com/Branson.
About CoxHealth: A community-based, not-for-profit health system, CoxHealth is headquartered in Springfield, Mo. It is accredited by The Joint Commission, distinguished as one of the nation’s top 100 health systems, recognized as a U.S. News & World Report Best Regional Hospital, and committed to caring for people throughout the Ozarks.
Established in 1906, the organization serves more than 900,000 people in a 24-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, offering a comprehensive array of primary and specialty care including five hospitals and more than 80 clinics in 25 communities. The health system includes Cox Medical Center South, Cox Medical Center Branson, Cox North Hospital, Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital, Cox Monett Hospital, Oxford HealthCare (the nation’s second largest hospital-based home health agency), Home Parenteral Services (home infusion therapy), CoxHealth Foundation, Cox College, Cox HealthPlans and more.
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