Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women Receives Highest Level Maternal Care Designation by the State of Texas
Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women has been designated a level IV maternal care facility for the second time – an acknowledgment that the hospital provides patients with the highest level of care available. The designation was finalized last week, following a site visit conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services EMS/Trauma Systems Office.
To be recognized as a level IV maternal care facility, a hospital must provide comprehensive care for pregnant and postpartum patients, including low-risk cases as well as the most complex medical, surgical and obstetrical conditions that present a higher-risk of maternal morbidity or mortality.
“Since our initial designation visit, we have updated our quality assessment and performance improvement program by applying a health equity lens to our improvement efforts to ensure we are recognizing health disparities and eliminating them,” said Dr. Christina Davidson, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist and Chief Quality Officer at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “We are proud to be recognized by the state for our outstanding quality and safety efforts.”
In 2013 legislation was passed that requires the state of Texas to establish and implement neonatal and maternal level of care designations – with a goal to ensure both neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and maternal care facilities have the resources and expertise to provide high-quality, specialized patient care that leads to the best outcomes for mothers and their babies.
The NICU at Texas Children’s Hospital is the nation’s largest and was the first in the state to be designated as a level IV NICU in spring of 2017.
Texas was one of the first states in the nation to require maternal care facilities to undergo site visits to verify the level of care provided to patients meets the Maternal Levels of Care classifications as defined in the Texas Administrative Code. One of the requirements of a level IV facility is to provide outreach and education to lower-level designated facilities.
“We are grateful for the continued recognition by the Department of State Health Services of Texas Children’s Hospital commitment and investment to maternal health both in our community and throughout the state of Texas,” said Kristin Thorp, Director of Nursing for Inpatient Services at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “We are committed to serving women of all stages of life at Texas Children’s Hospital and within our community through our outreach efforts to our hospital community partners in surrounding areas to help improve practices for the benefit of patients across the region.”
In 2019 Texas Children’s Hospital opened one of the nation’s first maternal intensive care units, housed within the labor and delivery unit at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Staffed 24/7 by a team of medical professionals who specialize in pulmonary critical care, advanced cardiovascular life support, and maternal-fetal issues. The four-bed unit boasts innovative obstetrical equipment and fetal monitoring systems.
The maternal ICU offers a specialized, private space for high-risk expectant and postpartum mothers with conditions such as sepsis, peripartum bleeding, placenta accreta, maternal heart disease and other serious conditions. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the maternal ICU at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women cared for many pregnant women with severe COVID, supporting patients with ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) when necessary.
The hospital is also home to a nationally recognized placenta accreta spectrum program, managed by a team of experts who provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for women with this rare and potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication.
Since 2017, Texas Children’s Hospital obstetrics service has partnered with the hospital’s Kangaroo Crew to create the Maternal Transport Service, further strengthening its reputation as a primary referral site for high-risk pregnancies.
The team, which consists of a Kangaroo Crew nurse, labor and delivery nurse, respiratory therapist, and EMT, provides specialty care to mothers while enroute to the Pavilion for Women, helping the hospital’s community partners transport their highest-risk patients for the most optimal outcomes for mothers and babies.
“Every person on our team seeks to provide world-class individualized care to mothers and their babies. This designation acknowledges the amazing work of our staff, nurses, physicians and facilities,” said Dr. Michael Belfort, Obstetrician/Gynecologist-In-Chief at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.