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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (April 6, 2021) – Dignity Health Dominican Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Shield of California with a Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
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 States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR), at approximately 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the MMR steadily increasing since 20001. 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 women2.
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.
Dominican Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Shield of California for meeting the rigorous BDC quality selection criteria for maternity care set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
“At Dominican Hospital, we strive to provide a birthing experience that is truly unique — all the advanced care of a leading medical facility within a welcoming and comfortable community hospital setting,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “We owe this distinction to our incredible Birth Center team, who is dedicated to providing the highest level of care and compassion for each and every birth.”
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 (NTSV c-section rate, PC-02) 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.
“Blue Shield of California congratulates Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital on their Blue Distinction® Centers for Maternity Care designation, especially as it pertains to addressing health inequities. The racial and ethnic disparities in maternal care within the U.S. are unacceptable and health care providers play an important role in addressing the underlying causes of suboptimal care and outcomes. I am thrilled that Dominican has been able to develop a comprehensive quality improvement program to help address and provide leadership on this crucial topic,” said Dr. Seth Glickman, chief health officer of Blue Shield of California.
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.
All companies and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only, and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Use of these trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
About Dominican Hospital
Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for generations. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican Hospital offers a comprehensive, Baby Friendly-designated Birth Center, and provides an on-site Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) through a partnership with Stanford Children’s Health. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence. Dominican Hospital is planning a $360 million renovation and expansion to ensure that the growing Santa Cruz County community can access world class health care well into the future. The project will allow for advanced technology, new state-of-the-art facilities, and even more innovative healing spaces.
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Kevin Kimbrough, Communications Manager