Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway Joins Arkansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative in Mission to Reduce C-Sections

CONWAY, Ark. — Between 2018 and 2019, 23 women in Arkansas died from pregnancy-related causes. According to the state’s review panel of medical experts, 90% of these deaths were potentially preventable. 

Now, Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway and 32 other hospitals in Arkansas are working together to prevent maternal deaths through the Arkansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative (ARPQC), a joint collaborative between UAMS and other medical institutions across the state. For the first joint initiative, hospitals will take steps to reduce cesarean deliveries for low-risk pregnancies.

“We are proud that Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway has committed to joining our mission to improve maternal health outcomes in their community,” said William Greenfield, M.D., professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UAMS and medical director of the ARPQC. “We look forward to collaborating with their dedicated providers as we work toward better outcomes for mothers and babies in Arkansas.”

The ARPQC will equip health providers at participating hospitals with education and resources to promote high quality maternity care. The goal of ARPQC’s first initiative is to reduce primary cesarean birth rates, especially in low-risk pregnancies.

Arkansas ranks 14th in the nation in cesarean deliveries, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Cesarean deliveries — also referred to as C-sections — can increase a patient’s risk of infections, blood clots, and severe complications in future pregnancies. 

“Our focus is always on patient safety,” said Traci Altman, nurse manager in labor and delivery at Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway. “By working together as a state to decrease the primary cesarean section rate, we can reduce the risk of serious maternal complications for our patients and set them up for safer deliveries in the future.”

The ARPQC will disseminate evidence-based maternal safety bundles to participating hospitals and will provide tools for implementing clinical guidelines. Providers at participating hospitals will engage in collaborative learning opportunities with the ARPQC, and hospitals will designate their own staff to lead quality improvement work at their facilities. 

The ARPQC will work with hospitals over the next two years to reduce cesarean deliveries and will determine its next initiative based on provider input. As a part of its support to participating hospitals, the ARPQC will provide benchmarking data that helps facilities track their progress in meeting quality improvement goals and improving maternal outcomes. 

“Quality improvement through PQCs has greatly improved maternal health outcomes and reduced disparities in other states,” said Jennifer Callaghan-Koru, an associate professor with UAMS and the director of evaluation for the Arkansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative. “A priority of the ARPQC is to measure the impact of quality improvement work through the collaborative and to identify the next opportunities to better care for maternity patients in Arkansas. We’re excited to partner with local birthing hospitals to improve perinatal health outcomes in Arkansas.”


About Baptist Health

For more than a century, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app.


About UAMS

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram