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Regional Health Rapid City Hospital Recognized for Maternity Care

May 24, 2018 09:41PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

Regional Health Rapid City Hospital’s efforts to reduce cesarean sections and early elective deliveries and keep more babies out of the NICU has earned it the Blue Distinction designation for maternity care from Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

 “Interdisciplinary care is really the key to quality,” says Shanon Waldner, RN, Director of Women and Children’s Services at the hospital. “We have an amazing group of providers that have collaborated over the last 7 years over what quality looks like and what is evidence-based.”

In 2012, this team developed an “Induction of Labor” guideline that mirrored the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommendations to avoid elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation, the point at which newborn lungs are likely to be fully developed and mothers are less likely to have a complication that leads to a c-section.

 Their efforts have resulted in annual overall cesarean rates between 20-22% for each of the last five years. (Blue Distinction looks for a rate of less than 27% among first time deliveries.) Nationally, cesarean rates average 31.9% based on 2016 Centers for Disease Control statistics. In the third and fourth quarters of 2016, Regional Health Rapid City Hospital was number one in the country in this area.

 “When I saw those numbers, I went running to Shanon and said, ‘What are you doing? This is amazing!’,” says Carole Bunk, Vice President of Managed Care. “It’s especially significant because we get all the cases in the region. We don’t just get the easy cases or the low risk cases. So the job we are doing in this area is phenomenal.”


“A lot of other organizations are in communities that cater to a lower risk population,” points out  Lori Wightman, Chief Nursing Officer at Regional Health. Wightman says the hospital’s impressive statistics with such a diverse patient population demonstrates the high level of care providers in the hospital’s five-state rural region can expect when they refer their patients to Regional.

“I think this also illustrates the benefit of interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Wightman. “All of our professionals have had to come together to agree on best practice guidelines and to move forward in the same direction to produce these outcomes. I hope this will set the tone for other specialty areas as we strive to achieve the same exceptional outcomes.”

Find a complete list of Blue Distinction facilities:

See why Rapid City Hospital was also recognized by CMS this year.