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Groups issue joint statement in support of Strong Start campaign

May 2, 2013

The AHA and six other organizations that support the delivery of maternity care yesterday issued a joint statement of support for the Strong Start Initiative, a national public-private partnership to eliminate non-medically indicated elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. The statement encourages all hospitals to have a documented plan or policy to reduce or eliminate early elective deliveries. It also suggests posting the policy to the hospital’s website and voluntarily reporting early elective delivery data to a Hospital Engagement Network. In addition to AHA, signers include the American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Nurse Midwives; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and March of Dimes. The AHA Board of Trustees last year adopted a formal position supporting policies to eliminate early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries, which research has shown can increase health complications for babies. AHA and its Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate are working with the Strong Start initiative to reduce early elective deliveries at hospitals through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Partnership for Patients campaign.