Indiana infant and maternal rankings expected to reduce mortality

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana hospitals are now required by law to be ranked for their maternal and infant care centers.

Level IV is considered the highest— meaning it has the most resources to handle complications.

The state is still working to certify each facility and expects the process will last through 2021.

About 15 months ago, Kayla Stutz was in labor with her first child, Molly.

“Thankfully, everything went really well,” said Stutz.

It was a high-risk pregnancy because Stutz suffers from a hereditary heart defect. She also had a stroke during a previous surgery to fix it. However, Molly is just fine.

“Her heart is great, she has zero complications,” explained Stutz.

If there were issues, Stutz now knows she was in the highest rated facility possible. IU Riley Hospital for Children was just state certified as a Level IV center for infants and mothers. That means it has the most resources available if there is a problem. A level I has the least resources but that doesn’t mean it won’t give quality care.

“There’s the minimum kind of established criteria so that even if an emergency were to rise even in a level I they can take care of that emergency,” said Dr. Mary Abernathy with IU Riley Hospital for Children.

The idea is that high-risk mothers like Stutz can choose the facility they’ll likely need based on the level. If you have a low-risk pregnancy and attend a lower level facility, each hospital will have a higher rated transfer location if something unexpected happens.

“That level IV or that level III may actually send out nurses and or physicians on ambulances that will actually help take care of that mother during that transition period,” explained Dr. Abernathy.

In a state with one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the nation, Stutz is glad this is in the works for Indiana.

“I think it’s an excellent thing for mothers and just families in general because I feel like if you have never had any experience with a medical facility for any sort of large procedure or medical history, you don’t even know where to start,” said Stutz.

Eventually Indiana will list every hospital’s level on its website. Some are already listed.

Once every facility is certified at a certain level they will be placed on a three-year certification cycle.

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