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MHHS Receives “Best for Babies” Award from Tennessee Hospital Association

Posted on February 22, 2021

Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System has earned statewide recognition for its efforts to reduce infant deaths and improve the health of Tennessee’s newborns.

Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System has received a 2020 “BEST for Babies” award, announced recently by Tennessee Hospital Association and the Tennessee Department of Health. Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System was one of 14 hospitals in the state of Tennessee to receive a 2020 award. The hospital welcomed 769 babies in 2020.


“We are honored to receive this recognition from THA and the Tennessee Department of Health,” said Gordon Lintz, chief administrative officer for Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System. “This award represents our dedicated Labor and Delivery team as well as our physicians who deliver babies at our facility. Our team goes above and beyond for newborns and their families to provide excellent care each and every day.”

The BEST award stands for breastfeeding, early elective delivery reduction and safe sleep for Tennessee babies. Award-winning hospitals have successfully increased breastfeeding initiation rates, minimized early elective deliveries and promoted healthy sleep practices for babies.

“I am extremely proud of our team,” said April Steffey, Labor and Delivery nurse manager. “They are truly dedicated to bettering our community through their compassionate care.”

“This recognition shows how much our team cares for our newborns and families. They embody our Covenant Health pledge of putting our patients first – I see them demonstrate that with every patient we encounter,” said Aundrea Mills, chief nursing officer. “We are blessed to have a staff that puts comfort and compassion into their clinical care.”

According to information from the Tennessee Department of Health and THA, for 2019, Tennessee’s infant mortality rate of 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births exceeded the national rate of 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

  • Sleep‐related deaths account for approximately 20 percent of all infant deaths each year.
  • Premature births were one of the leading causes of infant death in 2019.
  • Breastfeeding is a known protective factor against infant deaths.

The BEST for Babies award focuses on these areas because increasing breastfeeding, reducing early elective delivery, and increasing adherence to safe sleep practices can reduce infant deaths. To receive a “BEST for Babies” designation, hospitals must meet these criteria:

  • Breastfeeding: Maintain baby‐friendly designation through the year, have an increase of five percent or more in breastfeeding initiation rate from one year to the next, or have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 82 percent or higher.
  • Early Elective Delivery: Have an early elective delivery rate of five percent or less.
  • Safe Sleep: Have either the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification or a safe sleep policy meeting current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and follow TDH requirements for crib safety.