OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center Recognized for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

2/16/2021 - Bloomington, Illinois

(February 11, 2021 - Bloomington, IL) - OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes.


This latest evaluation looked at new factors to better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. Those include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination regarding racial and ethnic disparities, and internal protocol, including those to address implicit provider bias.


Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United State has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000[i]. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women[ii].


To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare. In 2018, facilities that received designations under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth across the country.

“OSF St. Joseph is proud and humbled to be recognized by BCBSIL for meeting the new and more rigorous quality criteria,” said Lynn Fulton, President, OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center. “This distinction is a testament to the dedication of the physicians, nurses and advanced practice providers in delivering equitable, high quality health care to all of the women in our community who come to us for care.”


“Our labor and delivery nurses are strong advocates for our patients and families, ensuring they receive the highest quality of care and experience. We collaborate as a team with our patients to create the best plan of care for each family, which has enabled OSF HealthCare St. Joseph to receive this distinction,” added Maggie St. Peters, manager of nursing and patient care for the hospital’s birthing center.


In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections (NTSV C-section rate, PC-02) has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.


“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is committed to working with providers to help improve the care of mothers and their infant children and is proud to offer this important recognition,” said Derek Robinson, MD, MBA, FACEP, CHCQM, chief medical officer, BCBSIL. “It’s one of the ways we’re partnering with members, employers, providers and communities to help improve health equity.”


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternal-mortality/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm


2 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm?s_cid=mm6835a3_w


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