Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln recently became the third hospital in North Carolina and across the nation to receive a specialized certification in childbirth, hospital officials said.
In order to obtain the Disease-Specific Care Certification, one of at least 50 that the Joint Commission offers hospitals nationwide, medical officials had to choose and meet four performance measures.
During the Joint Commission’s recent on-site review at CMC-Lincoln, the birthing center, named New Beginnings, demonstrated compliance and success with regard to the following indicators: perinatal patient education, reduction in early elective deliveries, encouragement of new-mother breastfeeding and prompt skin-on-skin contact between mother and baby after delivery, a hospital press release said.
According to CMC-Lincoln’s Corporate Communication Representative Stephanie Boothe, not every hospital chooses the same indicators.
“These are the ones we (CMC-Lincoln) want to improve upon,” she said.
New Beginnings Manager and nurse Dale Acker agreed, telling the Times-News that officials selected measures that would “improve safety and quality of care.”
Since 2012, when birthing center nurses said they began working towards discouraging pregnant women from having elective births, meaning deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation, the hospital has had zero in over a year.
CMC-Lincoln opted to improve the quality of their childbirth care by joining with the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina, “a community of organizations, agencies and individuals committed to making North Carolina the best place to be born,” according to the group website, pqcnc.org.
The goal of the effort is to change North Carolina’s status as one of the top states with high rates of infant mortality and early births.
Between 2010 and 2011, CMC-Lincoln’s rate of monthly elective births averaged between 20 and 30 percent of all deliveries, with some months reaching as high as 50 percent, Acker said.
The hospital’s birthing center witnesses between 30 and 40 births per month.
In addition, prior to receiving the certification, the hospital saw a culture of non-nursing mothers, a trend which has since reversed, allowing better care for new babies, nurses said.
CMC-Lincoln also offers one-stop rooms where patients can deliver, recover and receive any other necessary childbirth care.
While these unique types of rooms are growing in popularity in birthing centers across the country, Acker said, not all hospitals have been able to successfully manage them.
“We were lucky enough to be able to put it into action, and patients really like it,” Acker said. “It’s part of their culture. They really enjoy having the baby in the room 24/7.”
Birthing center nurses, including Clinical Manager Karen Shultz, told the Times-News that the hospital is committed to educating its pregnant population both before and after deliveries to ensure patients have all the necessary information on both birthing and the postpartum period.
Carolinas Healthcare System is the only medical system in the nation to boast the childbirth certifications, with CMC-Main in Charlotte and CMC-Northeast in Concord receiving the same honors this past fall.
“We are always striving to get these certifications,” Boothe said. “They are a great way to gain recognition for the great care we provide.”
She noted that every hospital in Carolinas Healthcare System is always seeking at least one type of Disease-Specific Care Certification.
CMC-Lincoln holds three additional ones, including one each for hip and knee joint replacement, obtained earlier this year, and heart failure and advanced inpatient diabetes, both awarded last year.