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Seventeen Michigan Hospitals Awarded for Excellence and Improvement in Maternity Care

New Study Raises Concerns Over Racial Disparity Gap in State’s Infant Mortality Rate

May 9, 2021

NOVI, MICHIGAN, May 7, 2021 – In honor of Mother’s Day, The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM), a nonprofit group comprised of Michigan’s largest employers and unions, is awarding hospitals throughout Michigan that have demonstrated excellence and improvement in maternity care and delivery outcomes. Seventeen hospitals have earned an award for 2021, the highest number of recipients thus far. This marks the fourth year for the awards.

The awards are part of EAM’s Maternity Care Project. Created in 2018, the project goals are to decrease the state’s infant mortality rate, reduce the rate of unnecessary C-sections, and be an educational resource for new and expecting parents residing in Michigan.

“The recipients of the Hospital Maternity Care Award demonstrate their dedication to giving newborns the best start to life,” said Bret Jackson, president of EAM. “Unnecessary cesarean sections and elective early deliveries are all linked to increased negative health outcomes and higher medical bills. These costs can be financially devasting to new parents and can trickle down to employers as well.”

For the award, hospitals were evaluated in four areas: cesarean rates (≤ 29.3% of low-risk deliveries), episiotomy rates (≤ 5% of deliveries), elective early delivery rates (≤ 5% of deliveries), and maternity care processes (90% or greater). The data is from The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C. based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers.

To be awarded the Excellence Award, hospitals need to fully meet the standard in all four areas in the same calendar year. Recipients of the 2021 Maternity Care Excellence Award are:

  • Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo
  • Ascension River District in East China
  • Bronson Hospital in Battle Creek
  • Bronson Methodist in Kalamazoo
  • Dickinson County Health System in Iron Mountain
  • Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson
  • Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit
  • McLaren Bay Region in Bay City
  • Memorial Healthcare in Owosso
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids
  • Munson Medical Center in Traverse City
  • Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids
  • Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in Fremont
  • Spectrum Health Lakeland in Niles
  • Spectrum Health Pennock in Hastings
  • Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville

Along with the Hospital Maternity Care Awards, EAM released a study today regarding the state’s infant mortality rate that is historically higher than the national average. Data points to a large racial disparity gap between White and Black Infant death rates. In 2018, the Black Infant mortality rate was 10.6 per one thousand births higher than the White Infant mortality rate.

“It’s troubling to see our state’s infant mortality rate constantly higher than the national average, but it’s a disgrace to have such an astronomical difference between the White and Black Infant mortality rates,” said Stacy Leick, director of communications and health programs for EAM. “To decrease the state’s infant mortality rate, it must start with reducing the racial disparity gap within maternal and infant care.”

The study strongly urges local, regional, and state agencies along with employers and organizations to collaborate on possible solutions, such as infant safe sleep education and increased access to quality prenatal care, to bridge the racial disparity gap.

“Employers and the government should take note about Michigan’s infant mortality rate,” said Jackson. “It should be one of our top priorities to ensure newborns have a healthier and safer start to life.”

The Maternity Care Project also provides details for birthing centers in Michigan, providing parents-to-be invaluable information in making a choice for hospital maternity care. To compare birthing centers and learn more about the project go to

About the Economic Alliance for Michigan
Founded in 1982, the EAM is comprised of businesses and unions working together with one clear objective – continued growth of Michigan’s economy by inspiring job growth and strengthen Michigan’s competitiveness for attracting companies and talent. The EAM seeks to use the collective voice of Michigan’s purchasers to serve as catalysts for change to ensure appropriate access to patient-centric, high-value healthcare. The EAM is the Michigan Regional Leader for The Leapfrog Group.  Learn more about the EAM at Follow us on Twitter @EAMOnline.

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