McLeod Health hospitals are recognized for maternity care

Some of the staffers who work in women’s care at McLeod Health. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence and McLeod Health Clarendon have been recognized by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina with a Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. “McLeod is very pleased that our Women’s Services area has received this top honor as a Blue Distinction Center,” said Tammy Abel, Vice President for Women’s and Children’s Services at McLeod Regional Medical Center. “This award is truly an honor and a result of our team’s consistency in delivering quality care to the patients and families in our region. Our physicians and care teams remain dedicated to medical excellence, demonstrated by their continual focus on quality outcomes and evidence-based care. This award serves as validation of the dedicated work our team delivers every single day to the families we serve.” “Our top priority is to provide each of our patients safe, high-quality care,” said Kim Jolly, Chief Nursing Officer for McLeod Health Clarendon. “We are pleased to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for maternity care that is achieved through the teamwork and dedication of our entire hospital staff. “This recognition underscores McLeod Health’s commitment to providing high quality patient-centered care to every mother and baby who entrust us with their care.” Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal health care, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location and implicit provider bias. Compared with similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared with white women. To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis, such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health care. Overall, cost of care episodes for vaginal and cesarean births at BDC+ facilities are 20 percent less than those at non-Blue Distinction Centers+ facilities. The rates of Episiotomies were 49 percent less at Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+) than at those at non-Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BDC+). In 2018, BDC/BDC+ facilities across the country cared for more than 40 percent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth. McLeod Regional Medical Center and McLeod Health Clarendon are pleased to be recognized by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Centers+ quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared with their peers. Quality is key; only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+. Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared with other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated providers, visitwww.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

Author: Rachel Howell

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