Mercy’s Family Life Center Recognized for Higher Quality and Cost Efficiency in Maternity Care

SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center’s Family Life Center has been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. To earn this designation, a facility must deliver quality care safely and cost-effectively.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program plays a key role in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Assoc. (BCBSA) National Health Equity Strategy aimed at reducing racial health disparities across the care spectrum and improving patient outcomes for all Americans. To align with this strategy, the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program enhanced its quality and measurement standards to recognize higher-quality facilities that have taken action to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies, reduce racial disparities, and improve maternal health outcomes.

Based on data from the current designation cycle, facilities designated under the Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program demonstrate higher-quality care compared to non-Blue Distinction Center facilities, with overall average rates of 26% fewer episiotomies, 60% fewer elective deliveries, and 17% fewer cesarean births, all of which point to healthier outcomes for patients. BDC+ designated facilities also exhibited an average savings of 21% for maternity care.

“At the Family Life Center, we place our patients and their families at the center of everything we do,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rottenberg, chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Family Life Center. “We are committed to providing every woman with a safe, high-quality birthing experience, and this recognition underscores our success in meeting that goal.”

The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program’s selection criteria was devised to close clinical care gaps and reduce inequities that persist throughout the maternal-care spectrum. The selection criteria includes components of BCBSA’s Maternal Health Equity Actions, which aim to dismantle the cultural, operational, and structural barriers that have created inequities that persist in maternal care.

To be designated under this program, each applicant facility was evaluated on a combination of objective data on patient outcomes as well as the practices implemented to reduce racial disparities and improve maternal health outcomes, such as using evidence-based best practices to respond effectively to obstetric emergencies; offering unconscious-bias training; participating in the regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative; having doula support available on the maternity-care team; collecting race, ethnicity, and language data; having a program dedicated to quality improvements in maternal care; running drills and simulations to prepare providers to deal with a range of obstetric emergencies; and demonstrating health outcomes that exceed the selection criteria from the program’s previous evaluation cycle.