Some area hospitals have stopped submitting birth announcements to newspapers based on a recent recommendation by the Tulsa Hospital Council.

The council, which has members from about a dozen area hospitals, adopted the guideline based on a recommendation from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“The decision made by the Tulsa Hospital Council was made with the safety of babies and their parents in mind,” the council said in a statement.

“If there is something we can do that could prevent an infant abduction, then it is our duty as healthcare providers to institute policies to support it. The council sees this new measure as a proactive step in increasing patient and newborn safety.”

The council said hospitals in several major cities, including Oklahoma City; Madison, Wisconsin; and Des Moines, Iowa, have also stopped submitting birth announcements to newspapers.

The recommendation from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been in place for several years. The report the Tulsa Hospital Council cites, “For health care professionals: Guidelines on prevention of and response to infant abductions,” has included the guideline since at least its 2009 edition.

But the guideline was adopted by the council only recently, and hospitals stopped submitting birth announcements to the Tulsa World during the last few weeks.

“It was brought to our attention recently when one of our nurse managers saw an article about publication of the ‘New Year’s baby’ and whether or not these should be promoted in the paper,” Lynn Sund, chairwoman of the council, said in a written statement. “This made us think again about the birth announcement recommendation, and we decided to err on the side of caution and do anything we can to keep babies safe, no matter how simple.”

Sund continued: “Even though the decision may not be popular with everyone, all the hospitals with labor and delivery programs agreed that it was the right step to take.”

Sund is the chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Saint Francis Health System. The council’s other officers this year are from St. John Medical Center and Hillcrest Healthcare System.

Officials at Saint Francis, St. John and Hillcrest hospitals said they no longer offer birth announcement options to parents, based on the council’s recommendation.

Council officials said the council routinely makes recommendations that are adopted by its member facilities. Although the council does not have legal authority over its member hospitals, most of the measures it passes have broad support because each facility has a seat at the table, officials said.

The council is governed by a majority vote of hospitals attending a meeting in which a quorum is present.

“The main purpose of the Tulsa Hospital Council is to provide a forum for Tulsa hospitals and healthcare facilities to discuss and collaborate on issues affecting member institutions,” Sund said.“The council regularly studies, develops and recommends new methods or standards for care delivery at member facilities. Recent work has included discussion and direction related to Ebola preparedness and measles preparedness.”

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Nour Habib 918-581-8369

nour.habib@tulsaworld.com