One of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States is hemorrhaging. In fact, according to the CDC hemorrhaging accounts for 11.2% of pregnancy-related deaths. Based on these increasing numbers since 1986 the Joint Commission, the country’s leading accreditation organization for hospitals, has created 13 new standards for perinatal safety for hospitals to properly care for women who hemorrhage during or after delivery. These standards were designed specifically to prevent, recognize and treat, as well as evaluate patients for transfer to critical care for not only hemorrhage but also severe hypertension/preeclampsia.
Some of the new standards include running annual drills to care for women who begin to hemorrhage, provide education to patients, have a blood bank plan at the hospital, and having maternal hemorrhage kits and medications on hand. These 13 standards of care should be implemented across the 22,000 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals by July 2020.
After consulting with a standards review panel and technical advisory panel the Joint Commission created a thorough report that outlines each requirement, rationale for each requirement as well as the reference for each requirement. Additionally, the Joint Commission consulted with The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) and other national experts. While all of these 13 new standards of care appear to be readily attainable and doable for health care facilities, the Joint Commission’s executive vice president for health care quality evaluation, Dr. David Baker, concedes that some hospitals will not reach these standards for perinatal safety according to an interview with US News and World Report.
The goal, of course, is for these 22,000 health care facilities to reach complete compliance with these new standards for the sake of women’s health. I will follow this news and update here if there is transparency about the hospitals that do not reach the 13 standards by next year.