Highmark Award Presented to PHH for Maternity Care

March 17, 2016


     DuBOIS – In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that The Maternal and Child Center of Penn Highlands DuBois and The Maternal and Child Center of Penn Highlands Elk have been designated as two of the first hospitals to receive the 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 Care Units.

      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+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality, affordable 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 also meet requirements for cost efficiency.

    “We are pleased to receive this award from Highmark that recognizes our effort to improve the healthcare of expectant parents and their babies in this region. Our team has worked diligently for many months to improve the quality and delivery of medical care to our patients. I commend the efforts of all nurses, support staff and physicians on this achievement,” stated Thomas A. Carnvevale, M.D., chief of obstetrics for Penn Highlands Healthcare.

     “Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield extends its sincere congratulations to these Penn Highlands Healthcare obstetrics departments for their dedication to quality, patient safety, and transparency that is required to achieve this great distinction. With consumer driven healthcare programs like Blue Distinction, and the significant effort of our partner practitioners and facilities, Highmark can now enable our members the opportunity to make wise, value-driven healthcare decisions”, said Dr. Mark Piasio, Medical Director, Provider Strategy, Highmark Inc.

     The Maternal and Child Centers of Penn Highlands DuBois and Penn Highlands Elk both offer private rooms in a relaxed atmosphere. An expert team of obstetricians, obstetric nurses and pediatricians supports expectant parents and their babies.

     Penn Highlands DuBois is home to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As the only hospital in the region with a NICU, as well as board certified neonatologists and perinatologists, critically ill and premature newborns are provided the highest level of newborn care.

     In addition, Healthy Beginnings Plus, a program that provides income-eligible women with medical care, education and support during pregnancy, is offered at Penn Highlands Healthcare.

      Further, prenatal care and childbirth education classes are also provided.