The Joint Commission and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) today announced a new collaboration to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States through the development of a new Maternal Levels of Care (MLC) Verification Program, available Jan. 1, 2022.
The Levels of Maternal Care (LoMC) Obstetric Care Consensus, first published in 2015 by ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, defines the required minimal capabilities, physical facilities, and medical and support personnel for each level of care, which includes:
- Level I (basic care)
- Level II (specialty care)
- Level III (subspecialty care)
- Level IV (regional perinatal health care centers)
Conducted by The Joint Commission, the verification process will involve an on-site comprehensive review of the maternal services available in hospitals/critical access hospitals and a level of maternal care determination.
“Through this collaboration with ACOG, we will be able to further address critical maternal health areas,” said David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president, Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission. “We are pleased to offer this new verification program at a time when several state legislative and licensing authorities, health systems, and hospitals are exploring levels of care verification to improve the quality and safety of maternal care. We look forward to working closely with ACOG experts to gain additional insight into how to make health care safer for mothers.”
“ACOG has long made Levels of Maternal Care a key organizational priority, as access to quality, risk-appropriate care is one way we can begin to reverse the rising rates of U.S. maternal deaths,” said Christopher Zahn, MD, FACOG, vice president, Practice Activities, ACOG. “We are pleased to be able to partner with The Joint Commission and utilize the broad reach they have across the country with health care organizations and programs, as well as state health departments. Through this effort, we hope to expand LoMC implementation more quickly and have a positive and lasting impact on maternal health outcomes.”
In addition to verification, The Joint Commission and ACOG are considering a certification in obstetric care for health care organizations that meet advanced criteria beyond the level requirements. Through this initiative, the two organizations will combine efforts to improve the quality and safety of obstetric care within communities.
ACOG, the foremost professional organization representing women’s health physicians, has led and been a part of longstanding and continued efforts to eliminate preventable maternal mortality, particularly in the areas of advocacy and clinical practice. ACOG is dedicated to working with health care professionals, legislators, community organizations and other stakeholders to address the multiple, complex causes that have led to the untimely deaths of so many mothers in the United States.
The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, implemented 13 new elements of performance to improve the quality and safety of care provided to women during all stages of pregnancy and postpartum, effective Jan. 1, 2021. The Joint Commission also began publicly reporting hospital performance on two perinatal care measures for cesarean birth rates and unexpected complications in term newborns earlier this year.
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.
About the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of 60,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org