Mercy– North Iowa Recognized for Maternity Care

Mercy– North Iowa Recognized for Maternity Care

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® has recognized Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa with a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization, and cesarean sections are the most common operating room procedures, according to National Centers for Health Statistics and the Agency for Health care Research & Quality (AHRQ). Reducing early elective delivery is an area of focus for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to Health Affairs, elective inductions result in more cesarean deliveries and a longer maternal hospitalization.

The Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on quality measures for vaginal and cesarean delivery. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also demonstrate cost-efficiency.

Quality is key: Only those hospitals that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

"Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa is proud to be recognized for meeting the rigorous quality and cost selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Nancy Latham, director of Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa's Birth Center. “This recognition reflects our commitment to clinical excellence and patient safety.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 1,000 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of quality information supplied by hospitals and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

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, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. 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 non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated hospitals.

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