The maternity care units within four Triad hospitals have been ranked as high performing by U.S. News & World Report in its 2023 report.
It is the third annual birthing subcategory ranking under U.S. News’ annual Best Hospitals umbrella.
Eight Triad hospitals with maternity services participated in the survey, which was timed for release Tuesday.
Moses Cone has been ranked as high performing in all three reports, while Cone Health affiliate Alamance Regional and Novant Health Inc. affiliate Forsyth Medical Center were listed as high performing for the second consecutive time, and Novant affiliate Thomasville Medical Center for the first time.
There were no Novant affiliated hospitals involved in the 2021 report.
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“While many factors go into the U.S. News’ Best Hospitals evaluation process, Novant Health’s goal is simple: Healthy mom, healthy baby,” Dr. Lewis Lipscomb, physician executive of the Novant Health Women’s & Children’s Institute, said in a statement.
“We’re very proud to be recognized as a leader in providing high-quality maternity care services. This recognition is a testament to the fact that everyone on our maternity care team is committed to providing the best in truly comprehensive care for expectant moms and babies.”
Triad hospitals that participated in the 2023 medical services survey, but were not ranked as high performing are: Atrium Health affiliates Wake Forest Baptist, High Point and Wilkes medical center; and Hugh Chatham in Elkin.
Baptist and High Point also participated in the 2021 and 2022 surveys and were not ranked as high performing.
According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the Cone Women’s and Children’s Center had 4,252 live births for 2023 through Sept. 30. It’s the second highest in the state, trailing just Atrium Health’s flagship Carolinas Medical Center at 5,286.
Forsyth is seventh overall at 3,178, while Baptist is 12th at 2,423.
Novant debuted in August its renovated Women’s and Children’s Institute within Forsyth Medical Center.
The institute is a key piece of an overall $403.4 million multiphase construction project launched in 2019 at the hospital.
Phase I features a redesign of the women’s and children’s center, along with renovations to the hospital’s main cafeteria, installation of a new central energy plant and modernizing existing patient rooms. The women’s and children’s center provides after-delivery care.
The project also includes: opening the region’s first obstetrics emergency department; renovating the hospital’s labor and delivery unit; and adding a new waiting area on the first floor.
In December 2021, Kernersville Medical Center broke ground on a 60,000-square-foot expansion that will include construction of a new fourth-floor birthing center.
Novant has announced a $55 million capital investment for the 10-year-old hospital, with the maternity and delivery element representing a $44.4 million expenditure. Maternity and delivery services at the Kernersville hospital are projected to begin in early 2024.
Baptist, Cone responses
Baptist could not be immediately reached for comment on the U.S. News ranking.
Baptist debuted its maternity services in July 2019 in a 100,000-square-foot Birth Center on its Ardmore campus with 51 private patient rooms, including at least two set aside for twins, and a neonatal intensive care unit.
Before the Baptist Birth Center’s debut, Forsyth had handled the vast majority of births in the county since 1977 as part of an agreement in which the systems agreed that Baptist would operate the region’s trauma center.
Dr. Mary Jo Cagle, Cone’s president and chief executive, also is a practicing OB/GYN physician.
“I know that what makes the hospital experience go smoothly is often prenatal care,” Cagle said in a statement.
“Cone Health has invested heavily in making sure that all pregnant women receive the advantages of these vital visits.
“That allows our talented team of labor and delivery nurses to focus on the mom and baby during delivery, and our great teams of doctors and nurses to continue care in the important days and weeks afterwards.”
U.S. News criteria
U.S. News surveyed nearly 680 hospitals nationwide that provide labor and delivery services, and submitted detailed data to the publication for analysis. Fewer than 300 hospitals received a high performing designation.
U.S. News said its methodology “is based entirely on objective measures of quality,” such as C-section rates in lower-risk pregnancies, newborn complication rates, exclusive breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates, birthing friendly practices, and transparency on racial/ethnic disparities.
“Hospitals that receive a high-performance designation as part of Best Hospitals for Maternity care meet a high standard in caring for patients with uncomplicated pregnancies,” said Jennifer Winston, a health data scientist with U.S. News.
“These hospitals have C-section rates that are 26% lower, and newborn complication rates that are 37% lower than unrecognized hospitals that participated in the survey.”
Novant had six additional hospitals listed as high performing, including Huntersville, Matthews, New Hanover and flagship Presbyterian in Charlotte. Hospitals in Mint Hill and Rowan were listed as participating.
Atrium hospitals ranked as high performing were Cabarrus, Pineville and University City.
Those that participated, but not ranked as high performing, were Atrium flagship Carolinas in Charlotte, as well as Cleveland, Lincoln, Stanly and Union.