Press Releases: Southern California
December 21, 2010
Kaiser Permanente Hospitals Receive ‘Baby-Friendly’ Designation for Quality Care to Breastfeeding Mothers
Los Angeles and San Diego Medical Centers Join Fontana, Downey and Riverside
PASADENA Calif. — Kaiser Permanente Southern California announced today that the Los Angeles and San Diego Medical Centers have received a prestigious recognition from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., a non-profit organization that implements the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States. With this month’s two designations joining Fontana, Downey and Riverside, KPSC now has five medical centers with Baby-Friendly status, a notable achievement given that this certification has been granted to only 102 facilities, 33 of which are in California.
The BFHI encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. It is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.
Donald Marcus, MD, medical director of the Los Angeles Medical Center, said, “Hospitals need to provide critical breastfeeding support to patients before delivery and after delivery. Our team here and our colleagues throughout Southern California are thrilled by the recognition. By providing quality care to our littlest ones, Kaiser Permanente is giving them a good start from day one and cumulatively, over time, this helps build healthy communities.”
Assessors from Baby-Friendly USA visited the Los Angeles and San Diego facilities for a two-day, on-site review. They interviewed staff and patients, both prior to a baby's birth and after, toured the facility, and reviewed other important factors that led to the designation.
The importance of optimal breastfeeding is significant, in terms of health risks. “Infants who are breastfed receive the most complete nutrition possible,” said Paul Bernstein, MD, medical director at the San Diego Medical Center. “Breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never receive breast milk, including a reduced risk of infections, SIDS and diabetes.”
Besides this month’s designations for Los Angeles and San Diego, KPSC medical centers in Fontana, Downey and Riverside had previously earned the distinction.
The Fontana Medical Center received the Baby-Friendly recognition in March 2010, the third KPSC hospital to be certified. “Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing comprehensive support and education for breastfeeding mothers and their infants,” said Greg Christian, executive director of the Fontana and Ontario hospitals. Years of dedicated work by the Fontana hospital’s maternal child health team produced optimization results that led to the designation.
Kaiser Permanente’s Downey Medical Center opened in mid-September 2009, and was named a Baby-Friendly hospital in January 2010. Today, physicians at the facility deliver more than 3,400 infants annually. The new hospital has 18 private birthing and recovery suites, and also has one of Kaiser Permanente’s largest and most advanced neonatal intensive care units in Southern California (49 beds, California Children's Services certified level III NICU).
The Riverside Medical Center received the Baby-Friendly designation in March 2005, the first Kaiser Permanente facility in Southern California to receive the recognition, and the first hospital in Riverside County to achieve this status. Years of outstanding work by the medical team preceded the award. For example, in October 2002, 70 percent of moms who came to the Riverside hospital to deliver were planning to exclusively breastfeed, but only 30 percent actually did. In comparison, in February 2005, 67 percent of mothers came into the hospital to deliver and wanting to exclusively breastfeed, and 67 percent accomplished this, an improvement of over 100 percent in three years.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 3.3 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.