Monday, November 24, 2008

Birth Center a great Community Asset in light of National Priorities Partnerships’ Recommendations for Healthcare Reform

Last week, the National Priorities Partnership (Partnership) - a diverse group representing national organizations who receive, pay for, deliver, and evaluate healthcare - released transparency-based recommendations to promote better health and more affordable care by eliminating unscientific and unwarranted interventions including tests, procedures, drugs and hospital stays. Eliminating inappropriate maternity care interventions, specifically targeting cesarean section, is one of the Partnership’s targets for improved healthcare.

Locally, the option to birth at the Birth Center is key to reducing unnecessary cesarean sections, especially among low-risk, first-time moms. Why? Birth centers have documented significantly lower rates of cesarean births. According to the 1989 “National Birth Center Study” published in the New England Journal of Medicine:
few innovations in health services promise lower cost, greater availability and a high degree of satisfaction with a comparable degree of safety […and…] that modern birth centers can identify women who are at low risk for obstetrical complications and can care for them in a way that provides these benefits.
Given the direction of national healthcare policy, growing consumer demand for maximum choice in birth options and what we already know about birth center outcomes, maybe we’ll even see a call for increasing capacity beyond current plans for the new Nurse Midwifery Birth Center!

At any rate, the current climate suggests greater requirements for demonstrating transparency in care. Accreditors, payers and consumers will increasingly make decisions according to how well transparency standards are met. PeaceHealth's commitment to relocate the Birth Center demonstrates an admirable understanding of its vital importance as a well-loved, high-quality and much-needed community resource.

Among the Partnership’s 28 member organizations is the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the leading hospital accreditor. Sacred Heart Medical Center received its Gold Seal of Approval. Given the Join Commission’s participation in developing new standards for transparency in health care, it’s reasonable to assume its own standards for accreditation will reflect these priorities. The new Birth Center will, no doubt, reflect beautifully on RiverBend as it pursues a similar seal of approval.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Local support prevents immediate closure of MA Birth Center, for now

Community members' efforts to preserve the more than 20-year old option of birthing at the North Shore Birth Center (NSBC) are paying off.

Last week, while the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation considered closing NTSB nearly 200 people rallied in the bitter cold advocating for the birth center’s future. All major Boston TV stations, newspapers and radio stations covered the rally. The Trustees have decided to deliberate further. To learn more and to offer words of support, check out The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center.

Here’s hoping NSBC remains in service and that Massachusetts women continue to benefit from the option that Lane County women enjoy: birthing in a home-like setting in proximity to an affiliated hospital.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Check out Lane County Friends of the Birth Center's blog

Welcome to Lane County Friends of the Birth Center's new blog! Since announcing our creation last month, our circle of friends has expanded to more than 200 individuals including moms and their family members, birth-related professionals, community supporters, and elected officials.

You should also join our group on, "Lane County Friends of the Birth Center." Please also visit Lane County Friends of the Birth Center's blog frequently and let others know about this resource where the following information will be updated regularly:

Birth Center baby album
Updates for the new Birth Center
Birth in the media
Local resources
National resources
Goings on in the Birth Community (local and national)

On the topic of "Goings on in the Birth Community," Jo Federigo's will host a November 19th benefit to support Doulas Supporting Teens, a local non-profit organization providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum support to pregnant and parenting teens in Lane County. 100% of all proceeds go to direct program expenses so come on out for appetizers, cocktails and some great live jazz. Contact Doulas Supporting Teens for $20 advance tickets; $25 at the door.

We hope that using the blog will inspire and invigorate appreciation for the Birth Center's service to local families. Did you know that the Birth Center has been designated "Baby Friendly" by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, a worldwide project of UNICEF and the World Health Organization? This designation is given to recognize birth centers that take special steps to provide an optimal environment for breastfeeding. The Birth Center is also Oregon's only facility to be accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.

That's all for now - I look forward to your feedback on this evolving resource either directly posted or via email at And see you on Facebook!

Best wishes,
Katharine Gallagher