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Getting a good start: DCHS earns award for maternity care

DEE MCDONALD, OB nurse at Dickinson County Healthcare System’s Family Birth Center in Iron Mountain, wraps Maren Basil Throop after her birth Feb. 25. Parents are Mandy and Darren Throop of Spread Eagle, Wis. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

NOVI, Michigan — Dickinson County Healthcare System was recognized Sunday for excellence in maternity care and delivery outcomes by the Economic Alliance for Michigan, a nonprofit group comprised of Michigan’s largest employers and unions.

DCHS was the only Upper Peninsula hospital to receive the award, which is part of EAM’s Maternity Care Project.

Created in 2018, the project goals are to decrease the state’s infant mortality, reduce the rate of unnecessary C-sections, and be an educational resource for new and expecting parents in Michigan. In honor of Mother’s Day, EAM recognized 13 hospitals across Michigan for excellence and three for improvement, the highest number of recipients since the program began three years ago.

“Our team is honored to receive the EAM Hospital Maternity Care Award because it recognizes the comprehensive and careful care we bring to every mom throughout the process, from prenatal health to healthy and safe deliveries,” said Dr. Ellen Bianchi, obstetrician/gynecologist. “We work hard to be the very best birthing program in our community, so it’s great to be recognized as one of the best in the state.”

“When choosing a hospital to give birth at, parents-to-be should look at the facility’s C-section rate to help prevent an unneeded procedure from occurring,” said Bret Jackson, president, EAM. “Recipients of our Hospital Maternity Care Award are chosen based on their dedication to outcome transparency and patient safety, their efforts help prevent adverse events and contribute to the lowering of healthcare costs.”

For the award, hospitals were evaluated in four areas: cesarean rates, episiotomy rates, elective early delivery rates and maternity care processes. The data is from The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. To receive the Excellence Award, hospitals need to fully meet the standard in all four areas in the same calendar year.

The Maternity Care Project provides details for each birth center in Michigan, providing a mom-to-be information in making her choice for hospital maternity care. To compare birth centers, go to www.maternitycareproject.com.

DCHS also was recognized for excellence in 2018. Only three hospitals across the state have been recognized three years in a row — Munson Medical Center, Traverse City; Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital, Hastings; and Spectrum Health United Hospital, Greenville.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, Michigan recorded a 6.2 infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, ranking 18th highest in the country. The national average was 5.9. Unnecessary C-sections and elective early deliveries can cause additional complications, even death, for both baby and mother.

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