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    March of Dimes and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District XII (Florida) recognize hospitals across Florida for reducing early elective deliveries

    Maitland, Florida, June 12, 2014 —

    March of Dimes and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District XII (Florida) are recognizing more than 50 hospitals across Florida for successfully reducing their rates of early elective deliveries, including inductions of labor and cesarean sections scheduled without a medical reason before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. To acknowledge this achievement, both maternal health organizations will present a joint special recognition banner to each hospital that meets specific criteria, highlighting its commitment to improving the quality of care for moms and babies.

    The banner recognition program is another element of the March of Dimes national campaign, “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.” One of the campaign’s national goals is to reduce the rate of elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy to 5% or less. In addition to the hospitals that have already qualified in Florida, many other hospitals are in the process of qualifying or have signed a pledge to reduce early elective deliveries by the end of 2014.

    “Studies have shown that deliveries that are scheduled for non-medical reasons may increase harm to infants, increase health care costs, and worsen medical outcomes,” said Dr. Robert Yelverton, Chair of ACOG District XII. “We are extremely pleased with the participation from the hospitals across Florida and with the great results this collaborative effort is seeing.”

    “We are delighted to present to each hospital with this commemorative banner for adhering to standards that directly benefit the health of babies,” said Dr. Karen Harris, Chair of the Program Services Committee for the March of Dimes Florida Chapter. “The last few weeks of pregnancy are extremely important for the baby’s brain and lung development, among other organs, so we want to commend this momentous achievement.”

    In 2013, the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology published a study showing that multistate, hospital-based quality improvement programs can be remarkably effective at reducing the rate of early elective deliveries. Among the 25 participating hospitals – the programs were piloted in California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas, which together account for an estimated 38 percent of all births in the U.S. Six of these hospitals were in Florida. During the one-year project period the rates in the 25 hospitals fell significantly, from 27.8 percent to 4.8 percent – an 83 percent decline.

    The criteria for hospitals applying for the distinction includes confirmation that their rate of non-medically indicated deliveries of less than 39 weeks gestational age was below 5 percent for at least the past 6 months prior to application, and that they have policies in place to prevent such deliveries.

    “When hospitals subscribe to our quality standards and start measuring and tracking the rate of these deliveries, we’re able to document perinatal outcomes and the progress toward that target rate,” said Harris. ”The recent positive response points to great progress on the horizon for the health of the community.”

    This statewide accomplishment is the result of the collaboration between the March of Dimes, ACOG District XII (Florida), the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative (FPQC), the Florida Hospital Association, and the Florida Department of Health, who joined together in 2010 to improve birth outcomes and the health of moms and babies.

    “Reducing unnecessary early deliveries should be a top priority for birthing hospitals,” continued Dr. Harris. “With every baby that is born full term we accomplish our collective mission for healthier moms and babies in Florida.”
    For a list of hospitals that qualified for the special recognition banner and of those that have pledged to eliminate non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks, visit www.marchofdimes.com/florida or www.acog12.org.

    For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

                                                                                 ###

    Media Contacts:
    Rochelle Darman, State Director of Marketing and Communications, 754-300-2610

    Esteban Meneses, Public Relations Coordinator, 321-274-8683

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