Roper St. Francis Supports S.C. Birth Outcomes Initiative
System continues its Baby Friendly journey with support for national initiative
CHARLESTON, S.C.(Dec. 20, 2012) – Roper St. Francis Healthcare (RSFH) is pleased to be ahead of the curve and a participant in the Birth Outcomes Initiative sponsored by the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS). The Birth Outcomes Initiative, a statewide and national effort, which focuses mainly on ending elective inductions for non-medically indicated baby deliveries prior to 39 weeks.
Effective Jan. 1, 2013 and supported by Gov. Nikki Haley, SCDHHS and BlueCross BlueShield of S.C. will no longer cover elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks. The initiative launched in July 2011 with the support of RSFH. Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital, which opened in Nov. 2010, has always discouraged the practice of elective deliveries.
“Choosing to deliver before 39 weeks without a medical reason can increase complications for the new mom and the baby. Women who choose to induce delivery solely for convenience may have a higher risk of cesarean section and a longer hospital stay,” said Dr. Meghan Lynch of Mt. Pleasant OB/GYN. “Waiting for delivery until after 39 weeks gives the newborn more time for the lungs, brain, and liver to develop and for the baby to gain more weight. Infants born prior to 39 weeks have an increased risk of complications that can include difficulty feeding and respiratory complications that can lead to intensive care admissions.”
In addition to being ahead of legislation on elective births, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital is currently working on obtaining Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by Baby-Friendly, USA that was launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
“Our decision to support the Birth Outcomes Initiative and strive for Baby-Friendly designation is due to our commitment to our patients and quality of care,” said Laura Celia, director of Women’s Services, RSFH. “These efforts will ensure the best outcomes for both mom and baby.”
According to SCDHHS, eliminating the elective birth practice will save taxpayers more than $1 million a year in delivery costs and an additional $7 million will be saved through a reduction in hospitalizations for babies. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes clear in its guidelines, there should be no elective induction or scheduled Cesarean delivery before 39 weeks without clinical indication.
"Health care systems should ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding. Hospitals should become more ‘baby-friendly, by taking steps like those recommended by the UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative,” said Regina A. Benjamin, MD, MBA US Surgeon General.
About Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Serving South Carolina’s Lowcountry for almost 200 years, Roper St. Francis Healthcare is the area’s only non-profit health system and is dedicated to the mission of “Healing All People with Compassion, Faith and Excellence.” With more than 100 facilities across seven counties, the system’s hospitals include Roper Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital and Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital. The system employs a network of more than 200 doctors and has a medical staff of more than 800 physicians covering all specialties. Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s more than 5,300 employees pride themselves on being nationally-recognized through Joint Commission accreditations and awards including hundreds earned for patient, physician and employee satisfaction. www.RSFH.com.