• Putnam Community Medical Center Birthing Center Director Whitney Rigdon is joined by her team in the Birthing Center and displays the recent recognition that the team received from The Agency for Health Care Administration and Florida Department of Health for their work in lowering C-sections in certain cases at the facility. (submitted photo)

PCMC Birthing Center recognized as being among state’s elite

Local facility beats national rate in lowering C-sections performed

The Putnam Community Medical Center was recently recognized as earning an elite status among Florida hospitals in terms of performing cesarean sections for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies. 

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) recently named PCMC as one of 20 Florida hospitals in 2017 that achieved the Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) Maternal and Child Health goal focused on reducing these types of operations. 

The honor was bestowed by the AHCA and DOH at the Florida Hospital Association’s annual meeting during the Celebration of Achievement in Quality and Service Awards Ceremony.

“We are extremely proud to have received this award.” Putnam Community Medical Center CEO Mark Dooley said in a release. “Our goal is to provide high-quality care for those in our community. As part of that goal and in caring for our community, providing the best care for the mothers who chose to have their child in our facility, and their newborn children is paramount.” 

The idea behind lowering the number of these operations is due to cesarean sections (C-sections) possibly posing serious health risks to mothers and babies in certain situations. Once a woman has a cesarean, she has a greater chance of having a C-section for subsequent births, according to a PCMC release, which can increase her risk of major birth complications. 

For the baby, some of the consequences can include a longer hospital stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as higher rates of respiratory infection.

The mission of this recognition program is to highlight the importance of this health care quality issue statewide and to recognize those hospitals that are contributing to providing quality health care for mothers and infants.  

Both AHCA and DOH have recognized that the high rate of low-risk cesarean births is a major maternal and child health issue in Florida, as the state has one of the highest rates in the nation.

C-section rates for first-time low-risk pregnancies in Florida delivery hospitals range from 17 percent to 61 percent. State and local health officials believe that variation at this magnitude indicates a serious public health concern that needs to be addressed statewide. 

In response to the rise of unnecessary C-sections across the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the HP2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk births to 23.9 percent, which PCMC’s C-section rate in 2017 was well below even that percentage.

Palatka Daily News

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