Published on February 23, 2016

Mary Greeley Medical Center Designated Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care

Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care AMES, IA – Mary Greeley Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the nation to receive the Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

The program is designed to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care. The designation was announced Tuesday, Feb. 23, by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Obstetricians and midwives with McFarland Clinic and Doran Clinic deliver approximately 1,100 babies each year at Mary Greeley’s Birthways unit. The unit offers 22 private patient rooms, including 13 labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum rooms.

The Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Mary Greeley has not had an early elective delivery in almost two years.

In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA. Mary Greeley was designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital in January. It is the second and largest hospital in the state to earn the designation.

Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality, affordable specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also meet requirements for cost efficiency.

“The Blue Distinction recognition comes on the heels of Birthways earning Baby-Friendly designation and serves as another indication of the quality of care our physicians, midwives and nurses provide every day to our new moms and babies,” says Amy Dagestad, MSN, RNC-OB, director of Maternity Child Services.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 650 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care. Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims. Research shows that, compared to other facilities, 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 health care facilities.

For more information about the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

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