May 9, 2017: At a news conference this morning, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association announced that a collaborative effort by Virginia’s community hospitals and health systems, physicians, clinicians, and other health care stakeholders has produced the lowest early elective delivery rate in the nation, according to federal data released at the end of 2016. In recent years, Virginia has seen its early elective delivery rate decline from 8 percent to 1.3 percent. Read the press release here, and watch the Facebook Live video of the press conference below or click here.
An early elective delivery or EED, defined as a delivery between 37-39 weeks without a medical or obstetrical indication, carries significant increased risk for a baby as compared to infants born between 39 and 41 weeks. *In October of 2012 the VHHA Board of Directors adopted a goal that all Virginia hospitals providing obstetrical services voluntarily submit their rate of early elective deliveries (EEDs) to the VHHA and pledge to prevent early elective deliveries by establishing policies and procedures addressing this issue within their organizations. All 53 Virginia hospitals providing obstetrical services have submitted their data and are achieving positive results in the effort to reduce the rate of EEDs in Virginia.
Hospitals around the state have reduced early elective deliveries by over 50% since the collaboration began in January 2013. Hospitals have been able to reduce EEDs by working with their medical staffs to adopt policies to identify specific situations where the benefits of an early delivery would be greater than the risks associated with such deliveries and educating their staff, patients and families. Data was also gathered and monitored to ensure that the rate of EEDs was indeed decreasing.
A statewide steering committee comprised of representatives from the VHHA, the Medical Society of Virginia, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Virginia Chapter, the March of Dimes and the Virginia Department of Health has provided guidance for this statewide effort and remains available to assist Virginia hospitals in this important quality improvement effort.
*Clark, SL, Miller DD, Belfort MA, Dildy GA, Frye DK, Meyers, JA. Neonatal and maternal outcomes associated with elective term delivery. AM J Obstet Gynecol, 156, February 2009, 31-e4.
As of 2017, The Virginia Perinatal Quality Collaborative is launching to support maternal child health teams in ensuring the safest outcomes for mothers and infants. Initial focus areas of the Collaborative include Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and preventing prematurity.
The March of Dimes 2016 Premature Birth Report Cards for Virginia and the United States are available through the links below.