(Boston) - Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) efforts to improve treatment for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome were recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals with their 2018 Gage Award for Quality. The award is presented annually in recognition of a hospital’s activities to improve the quality of care delivered or that eliminate harmful events for individuals or groups of patients.

Led by Elisha Wachman, MD, BMC adopted nonpharmacologic interventions as first-line treatment for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and altered the medication treatment protocols. Nonpharmacologic interventions include promoting breastfeeding, rooming-in models of care, and parental presence at the infant’s bedside. Wachman and colleagues launched the CALM (Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and infant stress) program in 2016, which promotes skin-to-skin contact to help soothe the infants and utilizes trained volunteers to cuddle them when parents are not present or available. This program has resulted in lower hospital charges and shorter hospital stays for affected infants and is now being replicated and implemented across the country,

“Innovative models of care to better serve our patients and families are a top priority at BMC. This exciting and now proven approach to neonatal abstinence syndrome has resulted in greatly improved care and shorter hospital stays for our smallest, most vulnerable patients,” said Kate Walsh, BMC’s president and CEO. “We are honored to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals and hope that these pioneering methods can be a resource for hospitals across the country.”

America's Essential Hospitals, a national trade association that represents more than 325 hospitals committed to caring for the vulnerable and keeping communities healthy, presented the award to Wachman on June 21, 2018 at its annual conference, in San Francisco.

“Essential hospitals are pioneers in a challenging health care landscape,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “Our Gage Award winners show how taking risks with inventive projects not only can improve quality of care within hospitals, but also expand care beyond a hospital’s walls.”

The Gage Awards, named after America’s Essential Hospitals founder Larry Gage, honor and share successful and creative member hospital programs that improve patient care and meet community needs.

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