Lakeland Among Nation’s First Hospitals to Earn Perinatal Care Certification
Dec 14, 2015 Share

Pictured here are Lakeland team members involved in achieving the Perinatal Care Certification:

Back row, from left: Beverly Robbins, Safety Advocate; Kathy Sporer, Clinical Performance Coordinator; Barbara Hannon, Assistant Manager of the BirthPlace at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph; Jennie Stocks, Clinical Director of Women’s and Children’s Services.

Front row, from left: Tammy Jerz, Manager of the BirthPlace at Lakeland Hospital, Niles; Karen Zienert, MD, Medical Director of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Lakeland Health; Morgan Vincent, Performance Support; Angela Kacynski, Executive Director of Surgical Services.

(ST. JOSEPH) – Following a rigorous onsite review, The Joint Commission has awarded Lakeland Health with Perinatal Care Certification in recognition of the organization’s efforts to achieve integrated, coordinate, and patient-centered care for mothers and their newborns. Lakeland is among only eight health systems in the United States that currently hold this designation, and is the first to receive the certification in Michigan and in the Midwest. 

“This certification is terrific recognition of how our team works together to provide safe, high-quality care for mothers and babies, from pregnancy through the first days of life,” said Karen Zienert, MD, Medical Director of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Lakeland Health. “We are especially honored to be one of the first organizations to receive this certification, and hope it gives our community one more reason to trust Lakeland for their families’ care.” 

To obtain Perinatal Care Certification, an organization must meet strict criteria related to the care of mothers and babies. Key requirements include: 

  • Integrated, coordinated, patient-centered care that starts with prenatal care and continues through postpartum care. 
  • Early identification of high-risk pregnancies and births. 
  • Management of mothers’ and newborns’ risks at a level corresponding to the program’s capabilities. 
  • For identified or unanticipated high-risk pregnancies and births or maternal, fetal, and newborn problems, the organization provides direct care or stabilizes and safely transfers mothers and/or newborns who require care beyond the scope of services provided by the organization. 
  • Patient education and information about perinatal care services available to meet mothers’ and newborns’ needs so mothers can make informed decisions about care, treatment, or services. 
  • Ongoing quality-improvement processes for the program, from prenatal to postpartum care. This includes program-specific, quality-improvement requirements in addition to the Joint Commissions Perinatal Care core measures set. 

"Achieving Perinatal Care Certification recognizes an organization’s commitment to healthy mothers and healthy babies,” said Wendi Roberts, RN, BA, MS, CLNC, Executive Director of The Joint Commission’s Certification Program. “The certification indicates an unparalleled advantage when it comes to preparing mothers for labor and delivery, while helping mothers and newborns if complications arise.” 

The Perinatal Care Certification applies to both Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, and Lakeland Hospital, Niles. The Lakeland Health system has delivered generations of southwest Michigan residents, with 1,823 babies born in the St. Joseph and Niles hospitals within the last fiscal year. Lakeland is served by a team of 26 obstetrics and gynecology providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives. 

For more information about the Perinatal Care Certification, visit 

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