Bristol Regional Medical Center and Franklin Woods Community Hospital win BEST for Babies award

Two Ballad Health hospitals have earned an award from the Tennessee Department of Health for efforts in improving infant care and decreasing infant mortality.

Bristol Regional Medical Center and Franklin Woods Community Hospital earned the BEST for Babies award earlier this month, and were among the top birthing hospitals statewide.

“This recognition is particularly special because it recognizes our hard work on behalf of our tiniest patients,” said Melanie Stanton, vice president and CEO of Franklin Woods Community Hospital. “Our efforts to implement best practices for infant health are a hallmark of our commitment to the mothers and babies of this region.”

“This recognition highlights Franklin Woods Community Hospital and Bristol Regional Medical Center as among the best birth centers in the state,” said Dr. Clay Runnels, Chief Physician Executive of Ballad Health. “We know that providing strong starts to infants means a healthier community overall. We are proud to lead the charge as we continue to improve healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands.”

Criteria to earn the award includes the following:

Breastfeeding: It must earn baby-friendly designation, have an increase of 5% in breastfeeding initiation rate from 2017 to 2018 or have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 82% or higher. Breastfeeding is associated with a range of positive health outcomes for both infants and mothers. It supports infant nutrition, brain development and growth and protects infants from diseases, infections, allergies and sickness.

Early Elective Delivery: It must have an early elective delivery rate of 5% or less for 2018. Early elective deliveries are births that are scheduled without a medical reason between 37 and 39 weeks of pregnancy. Babies are not fully developed until the 39th week of pregnancy. Early elective deliveries are associated with an increased risk of maternal, neonatal morbidity and longer hospital stays for both the mother and newborn.

Safe Sleep Policy: It must have Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification at a minimum of bronze level, or a safe sleep policy meeting current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. In addition, hospitals must submit documentation of crib audits averaging a minimum of 90% safe cribs.

The news release also reports infant mortality rates have dropped across the state. Sleep related infant deaths dropped from 144 in 2017 to 128 in 2018.

Courtesy of Image: Ballad Health