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Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Partners with March of Dimes to Give Babies a Healthy Start in Life
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Posted: 2012-11-19

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is partnering with the March of Dimes to lower the number of babies born too soon at their hospital.

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is among 100 hospitals nationwide currently working with the March of Dimes to implement the “39+ Weeks Quality Improvement Service Package” which helps hospitals develop and implement policies and procedures to reduce medically unnecessary (elective) inductions and cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

“Every week of pregnancy is important to a baby’s health,” says Scott Berns, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Deputy Medical Director for the March of Dimes. “I commend Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for being a champion for babies. Through this partnership, we will reduce the number of early elective deliveries and help give more babies a healthy start in life.”

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births.  Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“We’re proud to partner with the March of Dimes to give more babies a healthy start in life,” said Scott Becker, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center CEO.  “And we are proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses and the work that they are doing to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.”

The quality improvement service package is part of the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®” campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of a full term pregnancy.  This effort is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists through a new federal program called “Strong Start.”   The March of Dimes service package includes professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy.  Included in the service package are data collection tools, information on organizing grand round presentations, access to national quality improvement experts and providers, and other support services.   More information is available at:marchofdimes.com/39weeks.

On Tuesday, November 20, Dr. A. George Neubert, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, West Reading, Pennsylvania will present Grand Rounds titled “Elimination of non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries before 39 weeks.”  

Dr. Neubert, a longtime March of Dimes volunteer with extensive experience in implementing a Hardstop on elective inductions, will outline successful initiatives for obstetric providers both within Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center as well as for obstetric providers from referring hospitals in the Johnstown Altoona region.  Referring hospitals transfer preterm newborns to the Conemaugh Regional Newborn Intensive Care Unit. 


Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center (MMC), the flagship hospital of the Conemaugh Health System, is a regional referral hospital known for clinical excellence. Memorial has received HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence award for 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2007, for clinical outcomes which are among the Top 5% in the nation. Learn more at the Conemaugh Health System’s all new website, www.conemaugh.org.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.  Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

For More Information, Please Contact:
Amy Bradley, Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (814) 534-3121
Email: abradle@conemaugh.org