We are incredibly excited to announce that the Coit House is officially a birth center! Last week, we received accreditation from the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. This process took about a year to complete and required a lot of hard work from all of our staff. Birth center accreditation signifies the high-quality, evidence-based care we provide at the Coit House. We are the very first midwife-led birth center to achieve accreditation in New York State!
So what is the accreditation process? It is a robust and exhaustive review of all of our systems to ensure that we are using the most up-to-date best practices for maternity care, neonatal care, business operations, and safety. The Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC) uses standards set by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) to create specific Indicators of Compliance. We know…it’s a lot of acronyms! The Standards for Birth Centers and Indicators of Compliance span seven categories: philosophy and scope of practice; planning, governance, and administration; human resources; facility, equipment, and supplies; health records; research; and quality evaluation and improvement. They provide a consistent tool for measuring the quality of services provided to families in birth centers throughout the country. These standards have been endorsed by multiple professional societies and are recognized as a mark of excellent care and outcomes.
The AABC Standards for Birth Centers are determined by a multi-disciplinary committee that includes obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives, birth center administrators, and other experts. The standards are drafted and reviewed through a rigorous consensus process to ensure they remain consistent with evolving evidence-based maternity care. The AABC Standards and CABC Indicators change as new research in maternal and infant health identifies new best practices. Maintaining CABC Accreditation ensures that a birth center provides the most current evidence-based care.
During our accreditation process, we used these Indicators to fine-tune our Policy and Procedure Manual, medical documentation, employee policies, facility maintenance, and continuous quality improvement program. We submitted over eighty documents to the CABC for preliminary review. After these were accepted, an Accreditation Specialist conducted a multi-day site visit, where she reviewed policies, procedures, practice statistics, personnel files, patient records, and our readiness for maternal and newborn emergencies.
During the site visit the Coit house was inspected from top to bottom! They reviewed the expirations dates on all medications and supplies, tested fire alarms, and even checked for childproof outlet covers.We provided tons of evidence of the rigorous and continuous quality improvement program we’ve implemented, including frequent trainings and emergency drills, thorough chart review, compilation and analysis of outcome statistics, and regular targeted staff meetings.
Once our site visit was complete, the CABC’s Board of Commissioners meticulously evaluated all of the information provided during our preliminary review and site visit and determined that we met their accreditation criteria. Accredited birth centers are required to go through this comprehensive process every three years to demonstrate their sustained compliance and implementation of any newly identified best practices.
We look forward to our next site visit with the CABC in 2024. We love any opportunity to show off our beautiful, historic birth center! If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the Coit House and our model of care, our biweekly orientation sessions are open to everyone.
Author Mary Badame is the Quality Assurance Manager at Fika Midwifery and is a passionate advocate for midwife-led care, increased birth options, and better reproductive healthcare for everyone.