Valley West’s Breastfeeding Center gains innovation award

Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital, Sandwich, was awarded the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s “Excellence in Innovation” honor for its Breastfeeding Center during ceremonies held October 29th at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign, IL.Valley West's Breastfeeding Center gains innovation award

Participants vying for the award were encouraged to submit innovations implemented at their respective hospitals which initiated a new approach to improve patient relationships, implemented a new process flow or life-safety improvement, found a creative way to motivate and inspire staff, or fostered a successful community project.

Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital obtained “Baby Friendly Designation” in 2016. Since the designation, Valley West Hospital has been working to create a network for breastfeeding families to receive support and assistance before delivery, postpartum inpatient, and after discharge. Goals included providing a free service - five days a week - that would be available to all breastfeeding families in the community for support and professional consultations. The hospital also added a breastfeeding support group, with the opening of the center in February 2018.

“Feedback indicates that many families would not still be breastfeeding without the support they had received from Valley West Hospital,” said Melissa Hilt, MSN, RNC-OB, Maternity Suites and Surgical Services Manager. “Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital has received patients who did not deliver at this hospital, that have heard about the center and the free service and have opted to come because of the close proximity to home, and also because there are no restrictions related to ability to pay or insurance coverage.”

In addition to this honor, ICAHN also recognized Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital for its ongoing commitment to exceptional quality of care in general. As part of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Program (MBQIP), Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital and other critical access hospitals were asked to voluntarily participate in four defined domains of quality outcomes. These four domains include: Patient Safety/Inpatient; Patient Engagement; Care Transitions; and Outpatient Measures.

“Often, in rural hospitals, having a devoted staff member to abstract and submit this data can be both time-consuming and burdensome,” said Angie Charlet, ICAHN Director of Quality, Educational Services, and Compliance. “This hospital realizes how important quality of care and an engaged staff is for its patients…From its top leadership on throughout the facility, each strives for continued quality on a daily basis, and that is what we are celebrating today.”

Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital was specifically recognized for its quality of care outcomes (for participating in all measures in all four domains), for being a top performer (over 95%) over two years in two domains, and for achieving a ‘4-Star’ HCAHPS Rating. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the HCAHPS Star Ratings for consumers to more quickly and easily access the patient experience of care information provided on the Hospital Compare website. Star ratings will also allow consumers to more easily compare hospitals.

“We are very proud of our team for achieving this level of excellence in innovation as well as health quality,” said Beth Mosher, RN, MSN, FNP-C, Director of Clinical and Administrative Operations. “This is truly a team effort that recognizes our dedication to delivering a healthcare experience of which our patients and staff can be proud.”

Shown is Melissa Hilt, MSN, RNC-OB, Maternity Suites and Surgical Services Manager, Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital.