Princeton Community Hospital Women’s Center recognized for higher quality in maternity care

Drive-in Prayer at Princeton Health Care Center

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Princeton Community Hospital Women’s Center is proud to be recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show a commitment to delivering high quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

Racial and ethnic disparities are persistent and widespread across maternal healthcare, primarily driven by socioeconomic status, geographic location, and implicit provider bias. Compared to similarly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia, the United State has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 2000. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic black women are two to three times more likely to die from preventable or treatable pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.

To help address these gaps in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare. In 2018, facilities that received designations under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program cared for more than 40% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured women giving birth across the country.

Princeton Community Hospital is honored to be recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia for meeting the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Director of the PCH Women’s Center Angel Sylvester said, “Princeton Community Hospital is proud to serve our community and we strive to provide the highest quality patient care to our maternal and newborn population. Educating our staff on the most up-to-date practices ensures that we continue to provide excellent, high standard care to deliver the best optimal health outcomes to our mothers and newborns. Recognition of participation in the Blue Distinction Specialty Care is an honor and privilege and proof that our education and efforts to deliver this high quality, standard care is our number one priority for our region.”

In 2020, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care Program was expanded beyond traditional outcome measures to include assessments of internal quality improvement, data collection and dissemination, and internal protocols that better address clinical quality and equity issues in maternity care. New in the evaluation cycle, facilities must collect race ethnicity data, have a maternal quality improvement program, commence drills and simulations for adverse events, and have dedicated protocols and procedures for the management of hypertension and hemorrhage. In addition, they must meet clinical outcome metrics at a higher standard than required previously. Specifically, the rate for low risk first time cesarean sections has been aligned with the revised Healthy People 2020 goals. Facilities eligible for the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity care show statistically significant differences in key clinical outcomes compared to their peers.

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer/Highmark Health Plan Dr. Charles DeShazer said, “The Blue Distinction program gives Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia members the ability to choose their providers based upon reliable quality and safety information. It also provides a pathway for exceptional providers to demonstrate their value and delivers the kind of transparency necessary for members to make informed, value-driven healthcare decisions. We congratulate our Blue Distinction Specialty Care Providers on their accomplishment and thank our members for choosing Highmark BCBS West Virginia.”