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The Joint Commission collaborates with Georgia Department of Public Health to provide Maternal Levels of Care Verification

The collaboration aims to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the state Wednesday, April 6, 2022

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Katie Looze Bronk
Corporate Communications
(630) 792-5175

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, April 6, 2022) – The Joint Commission today announced a collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. The United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than other developed countries. In 2020, 861 women died of maternal causes in the United States with a rate of 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births.

DPH’s Maternal Center Designation program is recognizing The Joint Commission’s Maternal Levels of Care (MLC) Verification program. The MLC Verification program, offered with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is a verification process that involves an on-site comprehensive review of a hospital’s maternal capabilities and policies, as well as a level of maternal care determination. The levels include:

  • Level I (basic care)
  • Level II (specialty care)
  • Level III (subspecialty care)

In Georgia, Level I hospitals may seek the optional Maternal Center Designation with either DPH or The Joint Commission. Level II and Level III hospitals may seek the designation only with The Joint Commission. Within 90 days of the on-site review, hospitals must submit an application to DPH, including the final survey report, for DPH to issue a final determination. DPH is providing financial assistance by covering a portion of costs to hospitals for The Joint Commission review.

“We commend the Georgia Department of Public Health for its efforts to strengthen regionalized maternal health care for mothers and babies,” says Patrick Phelan, MBA, executive director, Hospital Certification Business Development, The Joint Commission. “With an increase in maternal mortality, it is critical to verify that hospitals have the expertise, equipment and resources in place to care for a mother’s specific needs and risk level. The Maternal Levels of Care Verification program helps support effective patient transfer to a higher-level facility with the appropriate capabilities when needed.”

The MLC Verification program was developed using ACOG’s Levels of Maternal Care Obstetric Care Consensus (OCC) clinical guidance, which includes comprehensive uniform definitions, standardized description of maternity facility capabilities and personnel, and framework for integrated systems that address maternal health needs.

For Georgia hospitals interested in achieving DPH Maternal Center Designation through The Joint Commission’s MLC Verification program, please visit The Joint Commission website or email .

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2020. 

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About The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

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