Hospitals earn designation for maternity care


Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital was founded in 1873 and is part of the Spectrum Health Medical Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Spectrum Health

An insurer has created a new designation that recognizes hospitals across West Michigan and the state for providing high quality and affordable maternity care.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recently recognized 63 hospitals in Michigan under its new Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation, which is a designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

A number of West Michigan hospitals have been recognized with the designation.

Borgess Medical Center, Kalamazoo
Bronson Hospital, Battle Creek
Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo
Holland Hospital, Holland
Mercy Health Hackley Campus, Muskegon
Metro Health Hospital, Wyoming
North Ottawa Community Hospital, Grand Haven
Pennock Hospital, Hastings
Mercy Health Saint Mary's Campus, Grand Rapids
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Fremont
Spectrum Health United Hospital, Greenville
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital, Zeeland

Blue Cross said nearly 115,000 babies are born in Michigan annually, making childbirth a common cause of hospitalization.

Blue Cross said Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care hospitals are recognized for delivering “high quality, affordable specialty care safely and effectively,” based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also meet requirements for cost efficiency.

The new designation program for maternity care 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.

Blue Cross said early term infants face higher risks of death and respiratory ailments, in addition to a higher rate of admission to neonatal intensive care units.

Hospitals that received a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care.

They also agreed to initiate programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services through its Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.

Lastly, the Blue Cross program evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others.

“The maternity care designation is a significant achievement and an indication of quality performance, safe and effective care for the many thousands of Michigan residents who will add to their families in the future,” said Dr. David Share, SVP of value partnerships at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the nation have recognized more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers and 650 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care.

Hospitals earning these designations were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

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