During the 2013 Perinatal Summit in Charleston last month, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center (GVMC) was one of 14 hospitals honored by the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership for their staff’s efforts to make changes to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies. Awards were presented to the hospitals whose staffs had made the greatest progress in helping to achieve key initiatives of the Partnership.
In 2009, the Partnership started an Obstetrical Quality Initiative to reduce West Virginia’s high rates of non-medically necessary labor inductions prior to 39 weeks gestation. Within that year, the members of the Partnership were able to reduce the rate by 80 percent, and the rate continues to drop.
“It is important to reduce these procedures because they are unnecessary, more costly, and result in babies being born too early and sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Units,” said Amy Tolliver, director of the Partnership.
In 2010, the Partnership began its second Statewide Quality Initiative, the First Baby Initiative. The goal of this initiative was to reduce West Virginia’s high rates of primary C-sections. To achieve this goal, 23 hospitals began an effort to reduce non-medically necessary labor inductions prior to 41 weeks gestation for first time mothers.
Additionally, awards were presented jointly by the Partnership and the West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance to hospitals and birthing facilities which are taking steps to better support and encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.
“It sends a mixed message when doctors and nurses tell mothers the best step they can do for their baby is to breastfeed and then they hand them a take-home-bag with formula samples and coupons,” said Cinny Kittle, director of the West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance. “Many people feel that hospitals have been used as marketers of infant formula, which is a detriment to mothers and babies successfully breastfeeding. Breast milk offers the optimum nutrition for babies and breastfeeding offers health benefits for the mother as well as the baby.”
The two organizations presented awards to facilities that have stopped providing mothers with infant formula and other formula marketing materials and have taken the step to join the national effort by registering their organization on www.BanTheBag.org. For more information about the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, contact Amy Tolliver at 304-558-0530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.