ATLANTA — Having a baby is an exciting and joyous time for any family, but for too many, that joy can turn to tragedy when the mother dies during or shortly after birth.
Medical experts say every year, about 700 women die from pregnancy-related complication in the United States and it's mostly preventable.
Congress and state lawmakers have all started efforts to address the concern, but one organization is working to make more immediate changes. Right now, the United States ranks 65th among industrialized nations when it comes to maternal mortality. The Joint Commission hopes to change that.
The a hospital accreditation group has announced a new set of standards to fight the high maternal morality rate and provide better care for new mothers.
An article from U.S. News and World Report put Georgia as the worst state, with a 46.2 maternal death rate for every 100,000 births between 2011 and 2015.
Starting July first of next year, all hospitals accredited through the Joint Commission will have to comply with a new set of standards. The changes are meant to address maternal mortality complications related to hemorrhaging and severe hypertension or preeclampsia, through prevention, early recognition and timely treatment.
Next summer, hospitals like Grady, Emory, Wellstar, and Northside in metero Atlanta, and St. Mary's and Piedmont Athens Regional in Athens, to name a few, will have to develop written procedures to identify and treat the conditions those conditions.
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Joint Commission accredited hospitals will also be required to stock easily accessible hemorrhage supply kits, hold drills at least once a year, provide role-specific education at least every two years to staff who treat pregnant or postpartum patients, and educate patients on signs and symptoms that require care during and after hospitalization.
The new standards were created based on recommendations from several national groups and experts.
The change will be far reaching. Four out of five babies born nationwide are delivered at hospitals that will have to adopt these new standards next summer.
Hospitals that don't comply will risk losing their accreditation. Read more about the standards here.
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