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MASON CITY, Iowa - Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has recognized Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa for their efforts in higher quality maternity care.
The "Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care" designation is part of a national program that recognizes hospitals for their work in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that are developed with input from the medical community.
Mercy-North Iowa Birth Center Director Nancy Latham says it's a big achievement.
"We're very proud to receive that distinction. We've worked really hard over the last year, and several years, to improve our quality and safety for our mothers and babies," Latham says.
"We've been working on elected deliveries [not delivering before 39 weeks], and trying to reduce our C-section rate on women's first pregnancies. Many organizations are doing that, but we have been recognizes that we have been meeting criterium that Wellmark has put out," Latham adds.
The hospital is now one out of more than 1,000 hospitals nationwide that are Blue Distinction Centers+, 18 of which are in Iowa.
Mason City mom Crystal Ressler says that the recognition is well deserved, as their staff has helped her significantly both before, during and after her girl Olivia was born.
"I had no idea what to expect. And they gave me a really great experience. They helped me with everything, even changing the diapers," Ressler says.
She also has a message for those who helped her.
"I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that helped me give birth to my baby girl, and make sure that we were both happy and healthy," Ressler adds.
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