Harris Regional Hospital meets North Carolina Hospital Association’s goal in reducing early elective deliveries, receives recognition as #2 in the state for avoiding unnecessary C-sections

Sylva, N.C. – The NC Quality Center, an affiliate of the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA), announced this week that a statewide effort to educate mothers and care providers of the dangers of early elective deliveries has reduced North Carolina’s rate from 4 percent of births to just 1 percent.
Harris Regional Hospital was recognized by the NCHA as having an early elective delivery rate at or below 1% for the entire year of 2013, and submitted data every quarter to NCHA, thereby meeting the NCHA goal.
North Carolina hospitals have taken an active role in the effort by educating patients about the risks to the baby so they don’t request an early delivery, and by implementing a “hard stop” policy that prohibits an early delivery unless there are appropriate clinical indicators. All North Carolina hospitals providing obstetrical services voluntarily signed a pledge in 2012 to adopt a hard stop policy. The pledge was a patient safety goal adopted by the NC Hospital Association Board of Trustees.
“We recognize the risks involved in delivering a baby before 39 weeks and are committed to a standard of care that protects mother and baby and results in the best possible outcome for both,” said Anetra Jones, Chief Nurse Executive for WestCare Health System.
In addition to successfully meeting the NCHA’s goal for reducing early elective deliveries, Harris was also ranked second of all North Carolina hospitals for avoiding unnecessary C-section deliveries, according to this month’s Consumer Reports data, which is based on C-section rates for mothers who anticipate low-risk delivery and is the largest single source of comparative C-section data for individual hospitals in the country. Harris received the best out of five possible ratings, indicating one of the lowest percentages of unnecessary C-sections out of the state’s 82 hospitals.
An early elective delivery, often through induction or Cesarean section, can lead to complications for the baby, resulting in admissions to neonatal intensive care units, increased length of stay, and higher costs for patients and payers. While North Carolina’s rate was already below the national average, these additional gains will result in healthier mothers and babies, to which Harris Regional Hospital is pleased to contribute.
Harris also received special recognition last year from the North Carolina Maternity Center for being a breastfeeding-friendly facility by implementing evidence-based best practices for breastfeeding-friendly healthcare, as well as providing lactation consultation and breastfeeding support services for new mothers.
“Our hospital is incredibly fortunate to have physicians and staff that are highly-trained and committed to ensuring the safe care of our patients. While recognition of our quality on state and national levels is rewarding, we understand it is a result of our clinical commitment to our patients,” said Steve Heatherly, President and CEO of WestCare. “These recognitions provide statistical evidence of that dedication and we look forward to exceeding these standards for our patients.”
The labor and delivery unit at Harris recently underwent a major physical renovation as part of the New Generations Family Birthing Center project, which is a complete reconstruction of the family care facilities on the third floor at Harris, and will include the addition of a C-section operating suite. The upgrades are slated to be complete later this year, and will result in a physical atmosphere that will match the quality of care provided to mothers and babies.
For more information on Harris Regional Hospital’s labor and delivery services or New Generations Family Birthing Center, visit www.westcarehealth.org.