Northside Hospital first in country to receive Maternal Levels of Care Verification
The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), announced that Northside Hospital, Atlanta, is the first in the country to receive Maternal Levels of Care (MLC) Verification. Northside Hospital also is the first in the state to receive a Level IV Maternal Center Designation from DPH.
The U.S. has a higher maternal mortality rate than many other developed countries. Georgia is taking action to help improve care for women and newborns. It is one of a handful of states to review risk-appropriate care and the first to collaborate on a program with an accreditation organization.
“The Joint Commission congratulates Northside Hospital on this outstanding achievement, as well as the state of Georgia for its efforts to standardize, implement and improve regionalized systems of care,” said Brian Enochs, JD, Executive Vice President for Business Development and Marketing, The Joint Commission. “Georgia is leading the way in establishing levels of maternal care designations for hospitals, and we expect more states to follow as the nation’s overall maternal mortality rates remain high. Through the MLC program, we look forward to working closely with hospitals to identify areas where they may need to strengthen risk-appropriate care to match their population – helping to make care safer for mothers and their babies.”
In 2022, DPH announced a partnership with The Joint Commission, recognizing its MLC Verification program. The program, offered in collaboration 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.
Through the partnership, hospitals may seek the optional Maternal Center Designation with The Joint Commission’s MLC Verification program. Details on the designation process are available at https://dph.georgia.gov/maternal-and-neonatal-center.
“Early in our history a pivotal decision was made to provide the best care for mothers and newborns in Georgia at Northside Hospital,” said Melissa Sisson, who is retiring as Northside Hospital's longtime Director of Women’s Services and led the hospital’s certification process. “Our strategy began in earnest with the establishment of a maternal-fetal medicine program, alongside a team of highly qualified obstetricians, certified midwives, nurses and staff. The designation of Northside Hospital Atlanta as the first Level IV Maternal Center in Georgia is an achievement that validates our ability to care for the most critically-ill mothers and newborns in Georgia.”
More babies are born at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital each year than at any other single hospital in the U.S. This position offers Northside a unique opportunity to develop exceptional expertise in the care of women and newborns with high-risk conditions complicating their pregnancies.
“The Georgia Department of Public Health commends Northside Hospital for its commitment to high levels of care, and for their partnership with DPH to improve the health of mothers and babies in Georgia,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health.