Tennessee Celebrates Hospitals Earning "BEST For Babies" Award

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Tennessee Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Michael Warren, MD, MPH (far left), Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD (far right) and members of the TDH Family Health and Wellness division help launch the BEST for Babies Awards at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.
Tennessee Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Michael Warren, MD, MPH (far left), Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD (far right) and members of the TDH Family Health and Wellness division help launch the BEST for Babies Awards at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.

Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH joined other state and local officials at the Tennessee State Capitol Tuesday to announce the first “BEST for Babies” awards to celebrate hospital efforts to reduce infant deaths and give babies and their families the best possible start.  Erlanger – Baroness Hospital and Tennova Healthcare – Cleveland were among seven hospitals being honored. 

TDH has partnered with Tennessee birthing hospitals since 2014 to promote safe sleep practices for infants. The “BEST for Babies” award is the next step forward in helping give Tennessee babies a great start to life. 

“We are pleased and grateful to continue partnering with the Tennessee Hospital Association and birthing hospitals across our state in this initiative,” said Commissioner Dreyzehner. “These awards recognize our partners’ dedication and success as they strive to ensure Tennessee hospitals are the ‘BEST’ places for babies to be born." 

The BEST award stands for breastfeeding, early elective delivery reduction and safe sleep for Tennessee babies. Hospitals must meet the following criteria to receive the award: 

Breastfeeding – an increase of five percent in newborn breastfeeding initiation rates from 2015 to 2016, or a minimum breastfeeding initiation rate of 90 percent in 2016 

Early elective delivery – hospitals should have early elective delivery rates at or lower than five percent for 2016 

Safe sleep – hospitals must have received Cribs for Kids national safe sleep certification at a minimum of bronze level, submitted the TDH annual safe sleep hospital policy report for 2016 and demonstrate a minimum of 90 percent of cribs as safe in crib audits in the 2016 report 

“The criteria for the BEST recognition are challenging but not impossible,” said Tennessee Hospital Association Quality Improvement Specialist Jackie Moreland, RN, BSN, MS. “We encourage all birthing hospitals to continue to meet the BEST criteria.”

Commissioner Dreyzehner recognized seven Tennessee birthing hospitals with BEST recognition on Tuesday: 

Erlanger – Baroness Hospital, Chattanooga

Hardin Medical Center, Savannah

Indian Path Medical Center, Kingsport

Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Greeneville

Northcrest Medical Center, Springfield

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, Nashville

Tennova Healthcare – Cleveland, Cleveland 

The BEST award will be given annually to qualifying hospitals. 

TDH partnerships with birthing hospitals are an important factor in the success of improving benchmarks for infant health. Breastfeeding rates in Tennessee have increased from 67 percent of infants in 2010 to nearly 80 percent in 2016. Babies are not fully developed until they reach at least 39 weeks of pregnancy. Thanks to the efforts of clinicians and hospitals, rates of babies electively delivered before 39 weeks have plummeted from more than 13 percent of Tennessee births in 2012 to consistently less than two percent through 2016. 

"The BEST recognition is an important part of our ongoing work to prevent infant deaths,” said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD. “Hospitals and their staff members are invaluable partners in modeling the best standard of care for babies and helping give Tennessee newborns the best start in life.” 

Learn more about the BEST for Babies Award at www.tn.gov/assets/entities/health/attachments/BEST_for_Babies_Award_applicaton_-_updated.pdf.


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