The CJFHC is integral in providing information to its members in regard to new and /or current state and federal mandates. Examples of their role include interpretation and dissemination of information regarding these mandates, and education of staff, community partners and individuals. The Consortium also serves in an advocacy role in both legislative awareness and implementation. We often participate in the development of policies and procedures related to new and changing regulations in New Jersey. Through membership in the Consortium, maternal child health concerns and issues are voiced collectively, which creates a stronger voice on behalf of the women and children in our region.
Data and Quality Improvement
The Consortium coordinates a variety of state mandated activities related to maternal and child health data collection. The primary database used is the Vital Information Platform or VIP. Consortium staff provide technical support to each of our member hospitals for the VIP. It is this data that we compile and analyze annually to publish the Continuous Quality Improvement and Data Report. This document guides much of the maternal child health related activity within our region. It is used for grant applications both internally and by our members, such as our hospital members during Magnet application, as well as for other program implementation. Data is examined throughout the year by the Multidisciplinary Review committee and the Continuous Quality Improvement committee. The information from the VIP provides outcome data and allows CJFHC, hospitals, and community agencies to assess the effectiveness of programs in the community as well as guide them for future planning purposes.
Promoting a Regionalized Standard of Care
The CJFHC promotes obstetric, neonatal, and pediatric evidenced based standards of care by providing quality comprehensive education throughout the Consortium region. Evidenced based standards of care are identified through professional associations such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the Associations of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) among others. The identified standards of care are promoted via educational programs to all nursing staff as well as to obstetric and pediatric staff and other health care professionals. It is also promoted through transport agreements between agencies which are facilitated through CJFHC. Access to regional standards of care and evidenced based practice can reduce liability exposure to hospitals, agencies, and the individual practitioner.
Centralized Resource for Education
Networking opportunities are promoted for all obstetric and pediatric health care professionals through the Consortium’s region-wide education programs. These education programs are provided in a variety of ways, both in-person and virtual, including but not limited to grand rounds, unit based in-services, half-day and full-day conferences, and self study modules. Examples include: the AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring courses, post partum depression education, and perinatal addictions programs. Access to high quality educational opportunities at a local level encourages healthcare professionals to attend these programs because of the close proximity to their homes as well as the affordable cost of the programs. This is especially important since NJ nurses are required to complete 30 hours of education for licensure renewal. It also encourages hospital staff to fulfill their requirements for certification in their respective specialties. Allowing nurses, social workers among others to be proficient in their area of expertise which enhances care and the quality of the staff, thereby reducing risk to patients’.
Cost Effectiveness and Augmentation of Hospital Provided Education
Through regionalized educational programming, the cost of per-person rates is minimal and at times non-existant. By leveraging resources, we are able to provide education addressing the most pertinent issues in maternal child health care.
While realizing hospital-based education is limited today due to fiscal constraints, there is still a need at times for education to take place on-site. Additional resources such as specialized equipment that can be used to augment educational programming is available through the consortium for use both at member organizations or at Consortium offices. This allows obstetric and pediatric services to utilize their limited educational dollars on other activities. Consortium education programs can also augment and reinforce knowledge and skills through existing hospital based programs.
Consortium programs are provided to a variety of healthcare practitioners. Joint physician/ nurse education is encouraged throughout Consortium programming to promote a team approach to care and to increase employee satisfaction. This increase in satisfaction may lead to a decrease in turnover of staff, ultimately reducing the financial burden inherent in high staff turn over. In addition, joint education amongst all healthcare professionals promotes risk reduction and decreases liability for hospitals.
There are a variety of community building activities that are performed by the CJFHC which enhance or increase resources available to women and their families in our region. One example is the coordination of Maternal Child Health Coalitions in our high risk cities. In addition to traditional Community Advisory Boards, Maternal child Health Coalitions have been formed at both the city level and county level in our region. These Coalitions help to support our hospital’s missions by identifying community needs as well as addressing the needs of diverse populations. The Coalitions provide a mechanism to offer regionalized programs that support community health initiatives as well as effectively distribute available resources. The presence of the Consortium in the community through the Coalition exposes the community to a variety of staff, thereby increasing consumer trust and confidence in the organization as well as its members, i.e. hospitals. By being present in the community, and providing education and resources, we can help to ensure a healthier community which potentially can decrease the cost to hospitals, all while marketing other Consortium activities and/or hospital services. Our goal is to ensure a healthier community for all in the maternal child health space.
Networking is one of the key benefits of Consortium membership. Sharing of best practices across hospital systems and among community members helps to enhance the quality of care delivered to our women and children. Provision of evidenced-based guidelines by individuals, and shared by the members, reinforces best practices. In addition, resource utilization is maximized by members through informal and formal communication facilitated by the Consortium. A variety of meetings are held to unite various stakeholders from our hospitals, community agencies, and the community at large such as sharing the Joint Commission visit results. These discussion often raise issues surrounding safety and compliance with standards and when shared regionally with members can help to decrease risk region-wide.
Interested in Membership?
In summary, membership entitles individuals or organizations to a variety of benefits including education, legislative awareness, networking opportunities, community collaboration, and data/quality improvement. Consortium membership is particularly beneficial for individuals or agencies involved in providing health care, interested in enhancing professional competencies, and promoting healthy lifestyles to families in our community.