Oakbrook Terrace,IL–The Joint Commission (TJC), the organization which accredits most US hospitals, announced on Nov. 30 that maternity hospitals with at least 1,100 births per year will be required to participate in its Perinatal Care Core Measure set in order to remain accredited. Currently, hospitals must follow “core measure sets” in four areas with other measures being optional. TJC is now requiring that hospitals enroll in 6 measure sets, and the Perinatal Care core measure set will be a mandatory fifth core measure for those larger maternity facilities.
The Perinatal Care Core Measure Set comprises of five main measures, and hospitals that enroll in this core measure set must follow all five parameters. These parameters are the following:
PC-01: Elective delivery
PC-02: Cesarean section
PC-O3: Antenatal steroids
PC-04: Health care-associated bloodstream infections in newborns
PC-05: Exclusive breast milk feeding.
This core measure set is updated about every 6 months and specifications can be found at the TJC website, along with frequently asked questions. The United States Breastfeeding Committee has a free toolkit to help hospitals implement this measure.
The implications of the new mandate are significant for US hospitals, where about 4 million infants are born each year. InMassachusetts, the new mandate will affect roughly half of the state’s maternity hospitals. Hospitals are required to measure the numbers of patients with these parameters and are expected to be taking actions to improve those numbers over time.
The new TJC requirements could provide a big boost for breastfeeding. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently shown that giving formula without a medical reason is one of the biggest predictors of early termination of breastfeeding. According to the CDC’s Infant Practices Survey II, 60% of women do not meet their own breastfeeding goals. “This action by TJC is an important step for patient-centered care, and for maternal and child health,” said Dr. Melissa Bartick, chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
For more information see the TJC Press Release. The new changes are effective January 1, 2014.