MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and MedStar Harbor Hospital Recognized by March of Dimes for Reducing Early Elective Deliveries

The March of Dimes has commended MedStar Harbor Hospital for our commitment to providing the best care for mothers and their babies.

July 1, 2015

 39 Weeks NEWs
BALTIMORE—(July 1, 2015) The March of Dimes Maryland-National Capital Area Chapter has commended MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and MedStar Harbor Hospital for their commitment to providing the best care for mothers and their babies by reducing the rate of premature births and decreasing  the number of  non-medically indicated elective deliveries and cesarean deliveries.

“This initiative is a critical step towards improving birth outcomes and enhancing the health and safety of our mothers and their babies,” said Samuel Smith, MD, chair of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MedStar Franklin Square and MedStar Harbor. “Through the commitment and accountability of our team we have been successful in restricting non-medically indicated early term births at our hospitals. The March of Dimes’ recognition is a reflection of our efforts, and an acknowledgment that we want women to be pregnant at least 39 weeks.  A baby’s lungs and brain are still developing in the last few weeks of pregnancy, and being pregnant an extra week or two will really give the babies in our community a healthier start in life.”

The most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today is premature birth. It affects more than 450,000 babies each year and is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Babies delivered before full term, without a medical indication, face an increased risk of lifelong health challenges including breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Waiting at least 39 weeks until delivery ensures full development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of vital organs,” said Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. “I commend MedStar Franklin Square and MedStar Harbor for being champions for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

To qualify for this recognition, MedStar Franklin Square and MedStar Harbor had to successfully complete the following requirements:

  • Provide data for at least two consecutive quarters showing rate below 5 percent for each quarter
  • Develop a written policy regarding non-medically indicated deliveries less than 39 weeks gestation
  • Institute a process for tracking and monitoring the rate of non-medically indicated deliveries less than 39 weeks

The March of Dimes honored MedStar Franklin Square and MedStar Harbor at the Maryland Patient Safety Center Conference on June 11. Both hospitals were presented with a banner indicating the hospital's pledge to improving the quality of care for moms and babies. 

To learn more about obstetric services at MedStar Franklin Square, click here. To learn more about obstetric services at MedStar Harbor, click here.

About MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is a not-for-profit 378-bed community teaching hospital located in the White Marsh section of eastern Baltimore County, Maryland. MedStar Franklin Square provides many medical and healthcare services, including a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals. The hospital is ranked third in admissions among all Maryland hospitals and is first in Emergency Department visits with more than 108,000 visits annually. MedStar Franklin Square is accredited by the Joint Commission and certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has earned some of the nation’s most prestigious quality awards including Magnet Designation for excellence in nursing, the Excellence Award for Quality Improvement from the Delmarva Foundation and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital specialty ranking for four consecutive years. With more than 3,300 employees, MedStar Franklin Square is one of the largest employers in Baltimore County. Visit for more information.

About MedStar Harbor Hospital

For more than a century, MedStar Harbor Hospital has grown alongside the communities it serves in Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties. The hospital was first established in 1903 as a small community clinic servicing the waterfront community in Baltimore. More than 100 years later, the 179-bed hospital continues to offer the personal touch of a community hospital while incorporating the excellence of a high technology medical center. It has been the recipient of the Delmarva Foundation’s highest honor, the Excellence Award for Quality for Hospitals, in 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

With more than 400 physicians representing 30 medical and surgical specialties, and 1,400 employees, the hospital offers a full range of health care services for patients from infancy through the senior years. MedStar Harbor’s specialty areas include orthopaedics, women’s services, cancer care, diabetes care, fetal assessment, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation, and treatment of chronic lung conditions. The hospital’s continuum of care also includes wellness programs, outpatient services and inpatient treatment.

MedStar Harbor is part of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional healthcare system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. MedStar Health's patient-first philosophy emphasizes service, quality and safety, combining compassionate care and clinical excellence. More than a half-million patients trust their care to MedStar Health each year.

About the March of Dimes

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at

Media Contact

Megan Lutz
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