Soon-to-be parents have a new way to identify hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care.
Johnston Health is one of the first hospitals to receive the new Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Research shows that compared to other hospitals, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than other hospitals.
Nearly 4 million babies are born in the United States annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community.
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Compared with babies born at 39 weeks or later, early-term infants face higher risks of death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to neonatal intensive care units.
In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation agree to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, and they have programs to promote successful breastfeeding. The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others.
“This designation reflects our ongoing commitment to providing the very best care for our mothers and infants,” said Chuck Elliott, chief executive and president of Johnston Health.
“We’re doing the homework for our customers by putting a spotlight on hospitals and facilities that offer high-quality services at a fair price.” said Dr. Brian Caveney, chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “With health care costs continuing to rise, patients want to know how much value they are getting for their health care dollar. Identifying which providers meet or exceed industry standards is an important part of that equation.”