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South Shore Hospital Earns State License as Level III Maternal/Newborn Program

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Sarah Darcy
December 8, 2008
(781) 624-8970

First and Only Community Hospital in State with Level III License

South Weymouth, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has licensed South Shore Hospital as a Level III Maternal/Newborn program, making it the first and only community hospital in Massachusetts to have earned this designation.  Level III licensure recognizes the advanced scope and complexity of care that South Shore Hospital provides for mothers and infants.  It is the same licensure held by well-known maternity programs at Boston academic medical centers.

Massachusetts DPH recognizes three levels of maternal/newborn programs:  Level III through I.  Level III Maternal/Newborn programs are the highest level, providing services to address virtually any situation that may arise for mothers and babies — before, during and after birth.

“We recognize that every woman and every newborn has unique health care needs,” says Veronica Ravnikar, MD, chair of South Shore Hospital’s department of obstetrics and gynecology and a board-certified OB/GYN with expertise in reproductive endocrinology/infertility. “State designation as a Level III provider is an affirmation of the advanced level of care that families have come to expect from all of us at South Shore Hospital.”

 South Shore Hospital’s Level III Maternal/Newborn program features: 

  • Expert care in the community. Women who wish to give birth at South Shore Hospital may choose from among more than 30 OB/GYNs and certified nurse midwives whose offices are conveniently located throughout the region. No other hospital in the area has such a large and experienced team of maternity providers.
  • Reproductive endocrinology program.   Those experiencing infertility issues can find expert clinical support at the Brigham and Women’s Center for Reproductive Medicine in South Weymouth. The center, affiliated with South Shore Hospital, offers a full range of infertility treatments, including ovulation induction and in vitro fertilization. The center specializes in treating both male and female reproductive complications, as well as genetic conditions that can affect fertility.
  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that as many as one-third of pregnancies are considered “high-risk.” South Shore Hospital offers the region’s only full-time maternal-fetal medicine program to support women with high-risk pregnancies. The program is staffed by board-certified perinatologists, perinatal counselors, experienced maternal-fetal medicine nurses, and full-time obstetrical sonographers.
  • A warm, welcoming environment. Every mother gives birth and recovers in a private birthing room and then moves to a private post-partum room. A board-certified obstetrician and board-certified anesthesiologist are always on site — not just on call — to provide prompt access to specialized care and pain management when needed.  The birthing unit features two dedicated obstetric operating rooms for scheduled and emergency Cesarean births.
  • Intensive care when needed. Although the vast majority of infants born at South Shore Hospital are healthy, a growing percentage of newborns require neonatal intensive care. In 2004, South Shore Hospital became the first and only hospital in Southeastern Massachusetts to open a neonatal ICU to offer an added measure of safety for premature, frail or ill newborns. The hospital’s ten-bed NICU — and 20-bed special care nursery — is staffed by board-certified neonatologists from Children’s Hospital Boston, neonatal nurse practitioners, 70 expert nurses, certified lactation counselors, respiratory and physical therapists, and others who serve in essential support roles.
  • Education and support. South Shore Hospital offers a variety of childbirth classes, parenting instruction, and sibling preparation programs. South Shore Hospital also offers home health services, to ease the mother and newborn transition home. Expert, compassionate support is available for women and families who experience a pregnancy loss.

 “South Shore Hospital is a community hospital, but it has reached a size and  sophistication that is unmatched in the region,” says board-certified perinatologist Achilles Athanassiou, MD, director of the hospital’s maternal-fetal medicine center.  “Our maternity service is now one of the largest in Massachusetts, with nearly 4,000 births a year.  Some of those pregnancies are complicated with medical issues – some minor, some major. It’s a natural evolution that now we provide comprehensive services to meet those needs.”

South Shore Hospital is a 318-bed, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, charitable provider of acute, emergency, outpatient, home health, and hospice care to the people of Southeastern Massachusetts.  South Shore Hospital’s home care division includes South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice of the South Shore, and Home & Health Resources.  The hospital’s 820-member medical staff represents all leading medical specialties. South Shore Hospital employs 3,500 people, supported by a team of 500 volunteers. South Shore Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters.  For a referral to a South Shore Hospital physician, please call 800-325-5454 or visit southshorehospital.org.



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