BayCare's St. Joseph's Women's Hospital Achieves Level IV Maternal Care Certification from The Joint Commission

March 20, 2024
A pregnant woman is at the clinic getting her sonogram as she excitedly smiles at her provider who is holding a medical device on her stomach.
St. Joseph's Women's Hospital has attained the highest level of certification in Maternal Care by The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest heath care accrediting organization.


BayCare, the leading health care system in West Central Florida, today announced that St. Joseph's Women's Hospital has attained the highest level of certification in Maternal Care by The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest heath care accrediting organization. 

As a Level IV maternal care verified facility, St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital is recognized for its commitment to providing exceptional maternal healthcare services. It is the sixth facility in Florida to earn the certification as part of The Joint Commission’s Maternal Levels of Care (MLC) Verification program, offered in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

“This certification is a testament to our unwavering commitment to the well-being of mothers and their babies,” said Sarah Naumowich, president of St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. “Our team prioritizes a culture of compassion, collaboration and excellence in every aspect of patient care."

The hospital underwent a comprehensive on-site review earlier this month to verify the level of care provided. During the visit, St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital’s capabilities related to maternity care were evaluated. Additionally, compliance with policies was reviewed. The MLC Verification program provides an objective assessment of a facility’s capabilities and verifies that a hospital has the expertise, equipment and resources in place for a patient’s specific needs and risk level. When complications arise, verification also confirms hospitals have agreements in place so the mother can be transferred to a higher-level facility with the appropriate level of care. 

St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital demonstrated its capability to provide on-site medical and surgical care of the most complex maternal conditions and critically ill pregnant women and fetuses throughout antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum care.

The certification recognizes St. Joseph's Women's Hospital's comprehensive approach to maternal care, which encompasses multidisciplinary teamwork involving obstetricians, perinatologists, emergency department personnel, intensive care unit staff, nursing teams and anesthesiologists. This collaborative effort ensures that even the most complicated cases receive specialized attention and optimal treatment.

Dr. Megan Tirone, chief medical officer of St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, said the program provides holistic care for its patients, addressing not only their physical health, but also their mental well-being. “We offer mental health services and support to mom,” she said. “We recognize the importance of addressing maternal mental health as an integral part of her overall wellness.”

The hospital recently launched a grant-funded High-Risk Obstetrics Clinic, which plays a crucial role in providing maternal fetal medicine consultation and evaluation for high-risk patients who may otherwise have limited access to care. In partnership with Tampa Family Health Centers, the clinic offers obstetric care alongside essential wrap-around services such as navigation assistance, education and social services.

“The Joint Commission commends St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital for being named a Level IV maternal care verified facility and for its efforts to standardize maternal care and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality,” says Ken Grubbs, DNP, MBA, RN, executive vice president of Accreditation and Certification Operations and chief nursing officer, The Joint Commission. “The Maternal Levels of Care Verification program will help St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital strengthen regionalized care for mothers and babies in its community.” 

St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital joins Advent Health Orlando, South Miami Hospital, University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando as the sixth Level IV maternity hospital in Florida. The MLC Verification program was developed using ACOG’s Levels of Maternal Care Obstetric Care Consensus (OCC) clinical guidance, which includes comprehensive uniform definitions, a standardized description of maternity facility capabilities and personnel, and a framework for integrated systems that address maternal health needs. To learn more, visit The Joint Commission website



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