Starting next July, the Joint Commission (the group that administers accreditation programs for hospitals and healthcare organizations) will require accredited hospitals to meet 13 new elements of performance related to maternal health. The Joint Commission recently issued a report introducing two new standards that address maternal hemorrhage complications and severe hypertension/preeclampsia.
With rising concerns about the state of maternal mortality in the U.S., many hospitals have adopted evidence-based practices to prevent maternal deaths. The new Joint Commission standards take some of the best practices related to hemorrhage and hypertension (two of the most common causes of pregnancy-related deaths) and turn them into requirements for all hospitals to follow. Hospitals’ compliance with the standards will be evaluated during regular Joint Commission accreditation surveys.
Some of the specific recommendations will require hospitals to:
• Develop written, evidence-based procedures to identify and treat the conditions
• Stock easily accessible hemorrhage supply kits
• Provide role-specific education to all staff and providers who treat pregnant/postpartum patients at least every two years
• Conduct response procedure drills at least annually
• Educate patients on signs and symptoms that warrant care during hospitalization and after discharge
Getting ready for the new standards
To ensure our hospital partners are prepared to meet these standards, OBHG’s base of more than 800 clinicians are actively collaborating with their respective hospital leadership teams. “The good news is that many of our hospital partners are already taking steps to reduce maternal deaths,” said OBHG Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Simon. “However, each hospital needs to understand the new standards and take steps to ensure they are compliant with the specific recommendations in order to maintain their accreditation.”
OBHG has already begun to equip our clinical leadership will tools to help our hospital partners for the coming changes. Here’s how:
• To ensure consistent collaboration with our hospital partners across the country, OBHG’s clinical leadership team is sharing guidance and information about the new standards with our hospital site directors who will be responsible for partnering with hospital leadership to ensure implementation of these items.
• OBHG clinicians will participate in ongoing dialogue and share best practices about the new standards across OBHG’s network of more than 175 hospital partners.
• As clinicians who are in the hospital 24/7, OBHG clinicians are already serving as leaders on labor and delivery units, as OB/GYN department chairs and by leading training efforts. Through this role, OBHG clinicians are well positioned to help our hospital partners in understanding and meeting the new standards.
• As part of OBHG’s ongoing training and development efforts, OBHG clinicians already receive regular, comprehensive training on maternal emergencies. We are verifying that we have the right measures in place to ensure that our own physicians and midwives continue to stay up to date on this training to stay compliant with the new standards.