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For Immediate Release: July 19, 2012 


Susie Wallace
Director of Communications
Oklahoma Hospital Association
(405) 427-9537

Pamela Williams
Public Information Officer
Oklahoma State Department of Health
(405) 271-5601

“Every Week Counts” Hospital Initiative Early Results Show Success

Non-medically indicated early scheduled cesarean births and inductions reduced in Oklahoma.

Health problems related to pre-term births (short duration of pregnancy) and low birth weight are the second leading cause of infant mortality in Oklahoma. Recent trends show a marked increase in the percent of births delivered before 39 weeks of pregnancy, up 27 percent since year 2000. However, just one year after the kickoff of “Every Week Counts,” an Oklahoma health care collaborative to reduce the number of Oklahoma births scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy without a medical reason, data reported by participating hospitals show a remarkable 66 percent reduction in such early scheduled births, according to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement.

Other results of the Every Week Counts initiative to decrease non-medically indicated scheduled cesarean births and inductions show a 7 percent increase in full-term births at 39 to 41 weeks and a 10 percent decrease in births at 36 to 38 weeks, according to analysis of Vital Records data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health Maternal and Child Health Service.

Because elective inductions and scheduled cesarean births in women who have not completed 39 weeks of pregnancy are known to contribute to problems for newborns, including premature birth and low birth weight, 52 Oklahoma hospitals partnered with others in the health care community to launch a quality improvement collaborative, Every

Week Counts, in April 2011. The goal of Every Week Counts is to eliminate non-medically indicated scheduled cesarean births and inductions at less than 39 weeks. The initiative is funded by the March of Dimes and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Scheduling a baby’s date of delivery without a medical reason even just one to two weeks before their due date increases the baby’s risk for issues such as breathing and feeding problems, sometimes requiring admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and separation from mothers and families. 

The Every Week Counts collaborative brought together physicians, nurses and administrators from Oklahoma hospitals to develop strategies to prevent these early births. Participating hospitals gathered recently at the Moore-Norman Technology Center South Penn Campus to be recognized for their achievements, to celebrate the success of the program, and to participate in continued education in support of the goals of Every Week Counts. 

(See attached list of Oklahoma hospitals receiving recognition.)

In 2008, 68 percent of births in Oklahoma occurred before the full-term 40 weeks of pregnancy were completed. In fact, the usual length of time in which babies are born in Oklahoma and nationwide had decreased by one full week between 1995 and 2008. While some conditions in the mother or baby may require early delivery, the practice of inducing labor or scheduling a cesarean birth before 39 weeks of pregnancy without a medical indication has become a common medical practice.

Key factors for success have been strong partnerships among the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the Oklahoma Chapter of the March of Dimes, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the OUHSC Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement. The enthusiastic participation by the 52 Oklahoma birthing hospitals has enabled this collaborative to show dramatic and widespread successful results. Timely individual and aggregate data reports provided by the OUHSC Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement allow hospitals to identify areas for individual quality improvement and compare their progress with other hospitals. 

“This is a topic that is receiving much national attention and we are proud of the work that Oklahoma hospitals have done to improve perinatal and infant outcomes,” said Oklahoma Hospital Association president Craig W. Jones. “Early results of this initiative are commendable and we will continue to work toward the goal of healthier Oklahoma babies by eliminating early, elective deliveries in our state.”

“We are pleased with the work of the Oklahoma hospitals and partners in this initiative to help reduce low birth weight babies and improve infant outcomes in Oklahoma for both mothers and babies,” said Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services and State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “We look forward to working with the hospitals and other medical providers to find ways to help reduce infant mortality and to create a healthier Oklahoma.”

“March of Dimes is thrilled to have worked in collaboration with our partners to help Moms deliver healthy full-term babies. We commend the hospitals that participated in Every Week Counts for their commitment to reducing non-medically necessary deliveries before 39 weeks gestation,” said Laurie Applekamp, state director, March of Dimes Oklahoma Chapter. 

“Every Week Counts” is part of the statewide “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative to reduce infant mortality in Oklahoma. For information about having a healthy baby, visit the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” website at:  http://iio.health.ok.gov



The Oklahoma Hospital Association represents more than 130 hospitals and health care entities across the state of Oklahoma. OHA’s primary objective is to promote the welfare of the public by leading and assisting its members in the provision of better health care and services for all people. For more information, go to www.okoha.com.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” is a statewide initiative to improve birth outcomes and reduce infant deaths in Oklahoma and focuses on seven specific areas: preconception and interconception care (being healthy before and between pregnancies), tobacco use prevention, prematurity, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, infant safe sleep, and infant injury prevention. Using state and community-based level partnerships, strategies include public education, policy change, and support of health care providers and birthing hospitals through training and technical assistance.

The Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, has worked with Oklahoma birthing hospitals for 27 years to improve maternal and infant care for Oklahoma families by providing education, maximizing resources and collaborating with partners to identify and remove barriers to providing safe, quality perinatal care.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.


Every Week Counts

Hospital participants

Hospitals with a “superior” achievement award:

Chickasaw Nation Medical Center                                            Ada, Ok

Memorial Hospital of Texas County                                         Guymon, Ok


Hospitals with an “outstanding” achievement award:

Choctaw Nation Health Care Center                                        Talihina, OK

Comanche County Memorial Hospital                                     Lawton, OK

Hillcrest Cushing Regional Hospital                                           Cushing, OK                       

Deaconess Hospital                                                                         Oklahoma City, Ok

Duncan Regional Hospital                                                             Duncan, OK

Grady Memorial Hospital                                                              Chickasha, Ok

Great Plains Regional Medical Center                                     Elk City, OK

Hillcrest Hospital South                                                                  Tulsa, OK

Hillcrest Medical Center                                                                Tulsa, OK

INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center                                              Oklahoma City, OK

INTEGRIS Clinton Regional Hospital                                          Clinton, OK                        

INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center                                      Oklahoma City, OK

Jackson County Memorial Hospital                                           Altus, OK

Jane Phillips Medical Center                                                        Bartlesville, OK

Lakeside Women's Hospital                                                         Oklahoma City, OK

McAlester Regional Health Center                                           McAlester, OK

Mercy Health Center                                                                      Oklahoma City, OK

Moore Medical Center                                                                  Moore, OK

Muskogee Regional Medical Center                                        Muskogee, OK

Newman Memorial Hospital                                                       Shattuck, OK

OSU Medical Center                                                                       Tulsa, OK

OU Medical Center                                                                         Oklahoma City, OK

Pauls Valley General Hospital                                                     Pauls Valley, OK

Ponca City Medical Center                                                           Ponca City, OK

Purcell Municipal Hospital                                                            Purcell, OK

St. Anthony Hospital                                                                       St. Anthony, OK

St. John Owasso                                                                               Owasso, OK

St. Mary's Regional Medical Center                                          Enid, OK

Tahlequah City Hospital                                                                 Tahlequah, OK

St. Anthony Hospital Shawnee                                                   Shawnee, OK

Valley View Regional Hospital                                                     Ada, OK

Weatherford Regional Hospital                                                  Weatherford, OK


Hospitals with a “participation” award:

Bailey Medical Center                                                                    Owasso, OK

Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center                                           Poteau, OK

INTEGRIS Baptist Regional Health Center                              Miami, OK

INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center                                       Enid, OK

INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital                                           Yukon, OK

INTEGRIS Grove General Hospital                                             Grove, OK

Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma                         Durant, OK

Mercy Memorial Health Center                                                 Ardmore, OK

Norman Regional Hospital                                                            Norman, OK

Saint Francis Hospital                                                                      Tulsa, OK

Saint Francis Hospital South                                                         Tulsa, OK

Southwestern Medical Center                                                   Lawton, OK

St. John Medical Center                                                                Tulsa, OK

Stillwater Medical Center                                                             Stillwater, OK

Stilwell Memorial Hospital                                                            Stilwell, OK

INTEGRIS Mayes County Medical Center                               Pryor, OK

Mercy Hospital El Reno                                                                  El Reno, OK

Midwest Regional Renaissance Women's Center              Midwest City, OK

Kingfisher Regional Hospital                                                        Kingfisher, OK

INTEGRIS Health Edmond                                                             Edmond, OK

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