TDH, THA Announce "Best for Babies" Award Recipients

Birthing Hospitals Recognized for Efforts to Reduce Infant Mortality
Monday, January 06, 2020 | 11:50am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Hospital Association are recognizing 18 birthing hospitals with the BEST for Babies Award for their efforts to reduce infant deaths in Tennessee. The BEST award stands for breastfeeding, early elective delivery reduction and safe sleep for Tennessee babies. TDH has partnered with Tennessee birthing hospitals since 2014 to promote safe sleep for infants and help give Tennessee babies a great start to life.

"Tennessee’s babies are our most precious resource, and we’re thrilled to recognize these hospitals for their important efforts in protecting and improving infant health,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “These awards demonstrate that together as partners we can save lives, and we’re excited to continue our collaboration with THA and hospitals across Tennessee striving to be the BEST places for babies to be born.”

The 18 hospitals receiving the “BEST for Babies” award for 2019 are:

Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton                                          Methodist Medical Center 

Bristol Regional Medical Center                                              Parkwest Medical Center-Covenant Health

Children’s Hospital at Erlanger-East                                        Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital 

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center                                   Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital

Franklin Woods Community Hospital                                     Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville

Jackson Madison County General Hospital                            Tennova Healthcare Cleveland

LeConte Medical Center                                                               TriStar Cenntennial 

Maury Regional                                                                               TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center

Methodist Germantown                                                                Williamson Medical Center 

Hospitals must meet the following criteria to receive the BEST Award:

     Breastfeeding – Earn baby-friendly designation, have an increase of five percent in breastfeeding initiation rate from 2017 to 2018 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 for 2018.

     Safe Sleep - Have Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification at a minimum of bronze level or a safe sleep policy meeting current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. In addition, hospitals must submit documentation of crib audits averaging a minimum of 90 percent safe cribs.

“The BEST award recognizes birthing hospitals for their dedication, hard work and success across multiple areas to improve the health of Tennessee mothers and their babies,” said Tennessee Hospital Association President and CEO Wendy Long, MD. “The criteria are challenging and we encourage all birthing hospitals to continue to strive to meet these standards to be designated as BEST for babies.” 

TDH partnerships with birthing hospitals and THA have helped improve birth outcomes and infant health in Tennessee. The state’s infant mortality rate has decreased from 7.4 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 6.9 in 2018. Sleep-related infant deaths in Tennessee declined from 144 in 2017 to 128 in 2018. By increasing breastfeeding rates, decreasing early elective deliveries and promoting safe sleep, these efforts and many other partnerships help give Tennessee infants a great start to life.

Learn more about BEST for Babies at

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at

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