DES MOINES, IA – To further protect newborns and their families, beginning June 1 Broadlawns Medical Center, Iowa Health – Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center–Des Moines will no longer release birth information to local media with parental consent. Providing newborn information has always been voluntary, and local hospitals have facilitated the process.
"We join the other hospitals in Polk County in adopting this policy to protect the safety and privacy of our patients," says Jody Jenner, president and CEO of Broadlawns Medical Center. "We celebrate all new births, and we will continue to support our new parents through programs and services that help them welcome the newest members into their families."
“We are sad that we are ending our assistance with birth announcements as we have always celebrated new life in our community,” says Sue Gehlsen, executive director of Women’s Services at Iowa Health – Des Moines. “But we believe that we should do everything possible to protect our tiniest patients.”
More and more hospitals across the country are moving toward keeping such information confidential in order to further reduce the risk of infant abductions either at home or in the hospital, however small the risks may be. National organizations that encourage birth confidentiality include: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and The Joint Commission—which accredits and certifies more than 16,000 hospitals nationwide including Broadlawns, Iowa Health – Des Moines and Mercy.
“Creating a safe environment for our patients of all ages is our highest priority,” says Patti Rumpf, Mercy Birthing Unit director. “At the recommendation of leading national organizations on newborn safety, we are changing our policy to further protect our patients.”
If parents still choose to publicly celebrate the birth of their new baby with a media announcement, the organizations will work with parents to reach the correct media contact or parents may directly contact their local newspaper.
Broadlawns Medical Center first opened its doors as a hospital to the residents of Polk County on April 13, 1924. With a history as a community health center dating back to 1903, Broadlawns has adapted to the changing demands of public healthcare and remained true to its mission of offering quality health services to all Polk County residents and training tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. Today, Broadlawns Medical Center is composed of an acute care community hospital serving medical, surgical, mental health and primary care needs; a 60-member physician practice overseeing numerous specialty clinics and outpatient services; and a family medicine residency program that graduates physician leaders who serve communities across Iowa and the country. For more information, visit www.broadlawns.org
Iowa Health – Des Moines, a subsidiary of Iowa Health System, is the largest private medical service provider in the state, averaging more than 32,500 inpatient admissions and 300,000 outpatient admissions each year. It includes Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Iowa Lutheran Hospital and Blank Children’s Hospital and more than 35 primary care physician clinics throughout central Iowa. For more information, visit www.iowahealth.org
Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines is a 917-bed acute care, not for profit Catholic hospital, with more than 40 clinics and a 15-hospital rural network. The Mercy corporation includes eight wholly-owned subsidiaries including: Mercy Capitol, Mercy Medical Center-Centerville, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Mercy Clinics Inc., Mercy Foundation, Mercy Park Apartments, Bishop Drumm Retirement Center and Mercy Professional Practice Associates. Mercy has more than 900 physicians on staff and employs more than 6,900 people. For more information, visit www.mercydesmoines.org
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