PITTSBURGH-St. Clair Hospital and South Hills Health System here said on April 1 that the institutions have initiated a study to explore a possible alliance. The alliance could result in any number of relationships ranging from increased collaboration to a formal merger. St. Clair, which has 337 staffed beds, belongs to the five-member Southwest Integrated Delivery Network. South Hills, parent of 392-bed Jefferson Hospital, is a member of Tri-State Health System, a competing seven-member network led by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
NEW YORK-Sister Thea Bowman Family Health Center, a new ambulatory-care and health facility sponsored by Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens, opened this month in Brooklyn at the site of a former supermarket. Catholic Medical Center funded the $1.4 million facility with cash. St. Mary's Hospital of Brooklyn, part of Catholic Medical Center's network, will provide staff support. Available healthcare services include general medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, dentistry and radiology. The 10,000-square-foot facility was built by New York-based Architecture for Health, Science and Commerce.
MONTPELIER, Vt.-Eight of the 12 Vermont hospitals that deliver babies reduced their rate of Caesarean sections since 1992, according to the Vermont Program for Quality Health Care, a not-for-profit corporation set up to improve healthcare in the state. The program is working with teams from Vermont hospitals to reduce C-sections through a quality-improvement project that included collecting in-depth data on every C-section performed in the state during 1994. The data were compared with American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology criteria, and the teams are implementing changes in their management of labor and delivery. The C-section rate in Vermont hit 20% in 1991, but as of 1995 it had dropped to 17.5%, according to the program's research. The national rate was 22.8% in 1993, the latest year for which figures were available. As C-section rates fell, the rate of vaginal births after a C-section rose to 45.3% in 1995 from 31.5% in 1992, a trend the program attributed to education courses to familiarize patients with the option. The national rate of vaginal births after a C-section in 1993 was 25.4%. Other program-supported efforts by hospitals include routine peer review for C-sections, increasing the use of nurse midwives and educating nursing and medical staffs on current ACOG recommendations.