In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality
maternity care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announced that
North Oaks Medical Center has been designated as one of the first hospitals to receive the national
Blue Distinction® Center+ for
Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth
the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers
for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures,
including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early
elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community.
Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher
risks of infant death and respiratory ailments, such as respiratory distress
syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions.
These babies also have a higher rate of admission to Neonatal Intensive
In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity
Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles
that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated
programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly
Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital
program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through
its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also
evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness
to recommend the hospital to others.
Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care,
an expansion of the national Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program,
are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely
and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from
the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity
Care designation, a hospital must meet the same quality criteria as Blue
Distinction Centers while also meeting requirements for cost efficiency.
“At North Oaks Medical Center, every birth is precious and drives
our team to use best practices in the care of mothers and babies,”
states North Oaks Health System President/Chief Executive Officer James
E. Cathey Jr. “We are proud to be setting the pace as one of the
first hospitals in Louisiana designated as a Blue Distinction Center+
for Maternity Care. This designation affirms that women who choose North
Oaks Medical Center for their birthing experience can do so with confidence.”
“We congratulate North Oaks Medical Center on this accomplishment,”
says Paul Murphree, D.O., interim chief medical officer at Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Louisiana. “Meeting the strenuous criteria required
of this new designation is a testament to its commitment to the health
of its community. We applaud the hospital’s efforts in helping our
mutual customers receive the highest quality maternity care.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized
more than 280 hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care.
Hospitals recognized for these designations were assessed using a combination
of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from
BCBS companies’ medical claims.
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients
find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of
bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip
replacements, spine surgery and transplants. Research shows that compared
to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate
better quality and improved outcomes for patients.
For more information about the Blue Distinction Centers program, visit