Orange Park, FL – Orange Park Medical Center was honored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District XII (Florida) and the March of Dimes for reducing the number of early elective inductions and cesarean deliveries with a special recognition banner. The hospital recently met the criteria to qualify for this distinction, which includes achieving a rate for elective deliveries before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy of 5 percent or lower and that they have policies in place to prevent such deliveries.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who tackled this issue in our community and established policies to avoid scheduling deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Chad Patrick, Chief Executive Officer at Orange Park Medical Center.

“We are delighted to present this commemorative banner to Orange Park Medical Center for adhering to standards that directly benefit the health of babies,” said Dr. Karen Harris, Chair of the Program Services Committee for the March of Dimes Florida Chapter. “The last few weeks of pregnancy are extremely important for the baby’s brain and lung development, among other organs, so we want to commend this momentous achievement.”

“Studies have shown that deliveries that are scheduled for convenience or other non-medical reasons may increase harm to infants, increase health care costs, and worsen medical outcomes,” said Dr. Robert Yelverton, Chair of ACOG District XII. “We are extremely pleased with Orange Park Medical Center’s participation.”

March of Dimes and ACOG District XII (Florida) have also worked with the Florida Hospital Association, the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative and other partners to provide resources and support to hospitals across the state. This joint effort enabled many hospitals to make great progress in reducing their rates of early elective delivery. For a list of hospitals that qualified for the special recognition banner and of those that have pledged to eliminate non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks, visit www.marchofdimes.com/florida or www.acog12.org.

Reducing early elective deliveries and improving the health of moms and babies is just one of the key focus areas of the March of Dimes and their “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait” campaign. In an average week in Florida 549 babies are born preterm and 29 die before their first birthday, many times as a result of their early births. Early elective deliveries can cause lifelong health challenges for the baby, including breathing difficulty, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Orange Park Medical Center, serving Clay County and its surrounding communities, is a full service, acute care hospital with 297 inpatient beds, two new patient floors, and a newly renovated emergency department. Orange Park Medical Center is a Joint Commission Top-Performing Hospital, ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country for heart, lung and surgical care.