HUMC is 1st hospital in nation to receive advance certification in perinatal care

Hospital, which demonstrated ‘exceptional standards’ of care, had no maternal deaths in 2022

Hackensack University Medical Center has become the first hospital in the nation to earn the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care, it was announced Tuesday.

The hospital, the flagship of the Hackensack Meridian Health system, earned the honor by demonstrating exceptional standards and outcomes in the care of infants and mothers.

There were no reported maternal deaths in 2022. In addition, the C-section rate continues to decline across the Hackensack Meridian Health network, HMH officials said.

The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

HMH CEO Bob Garrett said the system always is thrilled to get such an honor, because it demonstrates the system is committed to not only delivering high-quality perinatal care, but also eliminating maternal health disparities in the state.

Garrett also thanked first lady Tammy Murphy, who has raised awareness on the issue through the Nurture NJ organization she helped create.

“This distinction from the Joint Commission for exemplary perinatal care is a testament to the top-notch team members, physicians and leadership at Hackensack University Medical Center and our ongoing collaboration with first lady Tammy Murphy’s statewide awareness campaign, Nurture NJ, which is committed to making New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to give birth and raise a baby,” he said.

Murphy obviously was excited about the honor.

“I am thrilled to see Hackensack University Medical Center recognized with the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval for their outstanding and groundbreaking work in perinatal care,” she said.

“Hackensack Meridian has been a steadfast partner to Nurture NJ in our shared mission to transform New Jersey’s maternal health landscape; now, their work is not only leading the way for our state, but earning national acknowledgement, as well. Working together, we are on our way to making New Jersey the gold standard of maternal care and the safest and most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby.”

Garrett said health care professionals at Hackensack Meridian Health are committed to the work of addressing racial and ethnic disparities by using data-driven strategies and focusing on improving cultural competency and reducing inherent bias.

This certification recognizes Hackensack University Medical Center’s efforts to achieve integrated, coordinated and patient-centered prenatal through postpartum care, including both complicated and uncomplicated pregnancies. The certification uses standards, guidelines and the Joint Commission’s perinatal care measure set for managing and monitoring aspects of perinatal care that are critical to improving and maintaining the health of newborns and their mothers.

HUMC President Mark Sparta also was pleased.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is honored to earn this first-of-its-kind certification in perinatal care,” he said. “I am proud of our world-class team for exceeding standards when it comes to providing care for mothers and families. We will continue to lead the nation in excellence, and are committed to continuing to improve maternal health outcomes for all.”

Hackensack University Medical Center underwent a rigorous, onsite review on Jan. 23. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

The teams at the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital were found to execute a multidisciplinary approach and patient-centered plan of care that aligns with the growing need for quality, compassionate obstetric care addressed with the ACPC. According to the Joint Commission, the Top 3 reasons Hackensack University Medical Center achieved this certification are:

  • Improved efficiencies and outcomes;
  • Reduced unwanted variations in care and improve the patient experience;
  • Aligned communication and collaboration among all disciplines.

Deborah Ryan, interim executive vice president, accreditation and certification operations, the Joint Commission, said advanced certification in perinatal care recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous improvement in patient safety and quality of care.

“We commend Hackensack University Medical Center for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for newborns and their mothers,” she said.