Quality improvement

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The March of Dimes is a recognized leader and convener in quality improvement (QI) to improve birth outcomes. For several years, the March of Dimes has focused on the elimination of elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestational age and supported hospitals, health systems, and health departments with QI toolkits, messaging, consumer and provider awareness campaigns and turnkey QI programs. To encourage and acknowledge the efforts of hospitals for their own work to reduce early elective deliveries (EEDs), the March of Dimes awarded recognition banners. Through partnerships with local health departments, hospital associations and ACOG districts, the March of Dimes identified hospitals that met the criteria and celebrated their success through media opportunities. Hospitals not already meeting the standards are encouraged to sign a pledge that they will continue to work on this important issue.

The March of Dimes Mississippi Chapter joined together with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), the Mississippi Hospital Association, and the Mississippi Section of ACOG to urge hospitals to reduce EEDs and developed a state-wide pledge. More than 80 percent of delivery hospitals in Mississippi signed the pledge, committing to reduce EEDs.

In collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the Georgia Hospital Association, and the Georgia OBGyn Society, the March of Dimes chapter sent a letter to all Georgia birthing hospitals, asking them to sign a pledge to implement firm policies to reduce EEDs and support ongoing efforts to reduce Georgia’s infant mortality rate. Hospitals that had a policy in place and an EED rate of less than 5 percent were awarded a banner. By the end of 2014, 14 Georgia hospitals had been recognized.

The Houston Medical Center, Warner Robins, Ga., receives their banner from the Georgia Dept. of Public Health Commissioner, Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, Board Chair of the Georgia Board of Public Health, Kathryn Cheek, MD, and State Director, March of Dimes Georgia Chapter, Sheila Ryan.

Perinatal quality collaboratives (PQCs) act as a network of perinatal care providers and public health professionals working within states to improve pregnancy outcomes by advancing evidence-based clinical practices. Out of the 36 active state-based PQCs, March of Dimes chapters are involved in 35, and were a founding member of 21. Chapters support the work of the PQCs in leadership roles and through dissemination of educational materials and community grants.

The Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative’s mission to engage perinatal stakeholders to improve the quality of perinatal care and health outcomes for Oklahoma women and infants was supported by a grant from the March of Dimes chapter, which enabled the collaborative to build a comprehensive website to raise awareness among providers on statewide and nationally relevant activities and issues.

March of Dimes chapters also support local PQCs. The California Chapter provided a grant to the Perinatal Health Collaborative of Los Angeles to increase access to and quality of care for pregnant women and new mothers living in underserved communities of Los Angeles County.

In total, in 2014, 14 chapters gave 21 grants totaling $319,773 focused on QI activities in their states.