PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center listed in Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals 2020

With 1,876 deliveries annually, the hospital is one of seven in Washington state to be named to the list

The family birth center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has minimized the amount of hospital employees who come into the rooms, and all employees are wearing masks. Photo courtesy of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

The July 24 issue of Newsweek featured the 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals, and included in this year’s list is PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview also made the list.

With 1,876 deliveries annually, PeaceHealth Southwest is one of seven hospitals in Washington state named to the 2020 list and is the only one that made the list that is in the greater Portland area.

“PeaceHealth is so excited to be recognized as one of the top maternity care centers in our nation,” said Barbara James, director of PeaceHealth Southwest Women’s & Children’s Services. “To achieve this not only do we provide wonderful service to the community, our outcomes for moms and babies benchmark in the top percent of the nation when it comes to areas like C-section rates for first-time moms, providing safe deliveries at the correct gestation and not electively inducing women. This means our families and children receive some of the safest care in our community.”

Just as all other hospitals have, staff at PeaceHealth Southwest have had to make adjustments in the birthing center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Debra Carnes, senior director of marketing & communications for the PeaceHealth Columbia Network, said they have worked hard to make sure moms and babies are very safe.

The PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center family birth center allows only one visitor to stay the entire time, and meals are provided for them as well so they can stay in the unit and not have to go throughout the hospital. Photo courtesy of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center

“We have our own entrance and have allowed one visitor only to stay the entire time,” Carnes said. “We provide meals for them so they can stay in the unit and not have to go throughout the hospital. We have also minimized the amount of hospital employees who come into the rooms and of course, all employees are wearing masks for their shifts. If one of our moms has COVID during their stay, we have a specially designated area so that there is no risk of spreading. The moms worry about being separated from their babies, so we offer a way to care for babies in the room if mom is not too ill with symptoms of COVID. We have a clear curtain by mom’s bed, next to baby, so they can be with their baby. They can still breast feed also, just make sure handwashing is done regularly.”

All of the safety measures that are in place at the family birth center at PeaceHealth Southwest can be found here.

In order to create the Best Maternity Hospitals 2020 list, Newsweek partnered with The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that reports on the safety and quality performance of U.S. health care facilities. The 2020 list includes 231 entries in 36 states, categorized by region.

According to Newsweek’s website: “A panel of national experts advised Leapfrog on standards for excellence in maternity care, including achieving low rates of C-section, episiotomy and early elective deliveries, and following crucial protocols to protect mothers and babies. Though these are standards aligned with medical research and best practices, not all hospitals achieve them. The facilities cited by Newsweek as Best Maternity Hospitals 2020 are an elite group demonstrating excellence in maternity care.”

View the Best Maternity Hospitals 2020 list in its entirety here.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.