Open Accessibility Menu

Norman Regional Earns First-in-Nation OBED Accreditation

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
Norman Regional Earns First-in-Nation OBED Accreditation

Norman Regional Health System Announces Two New Centers of Excellence

Norman Regional Health System is excited to announce Norman Regional HealthPlex’s OBED (Obstetrical Emergency Department) has received first-in-the-nation accreditation by CIHQ (Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality) as a Center of Excellence.

This distinction marks the first time a health system anywhere in the country has been recognized for obstetrical emergency care. Norman Regional will now serve as a blueprint across the nation for other health systems hoping to be recognized for their OBED.

In March 2023, the Maternal Child Teams located at the Norman Regional HealthPlex completed two national certification surveys.

OB Emergency Department

The first survey welcomed a team from CIHQ to assess critical performance improvement elements and care provided in the OB Emergency Department. Norman Regional was the first hospital in Oklahoma with a licensed OBED in 2017 and remains the only one.

The CIHQ survey team performed a full evaluation of the OB Emergency Department's processes and procedures. They looked at everything from how patients are triaged and admitted to how they’re monitored and discharged. At the end of the survey, the CIHQ team found that Norman Regional's OB Emergency Department met all of the standards for certification.

Perinatal Care

The second survey welcomed two Joint Commission surveyors who spent two full days evaluating critical care elements for Labor & Delivery, OB Emergency, Mother Baby, Newborn Transition, Lactation Services, Women & Children and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The Joint Commission is a national organization that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations. To be certified, organizations must meet certain standards of care. The Joint Commission surveyors found that Norman Regional's Maternal Child program met all of the standards for certification.

According to the Joint Commission’s website, “the mission of the commission is to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.”

Why Pursue Certification?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the United States are rising. Oklahoma persistently ranks among the states with the worst rates of maternal deaths in the U.S., according to data from the CDC. Norman Regional recognizes this problem and has taken action to adjust the current course. The Health System began working towards its first national certification in Perinatal Care in 2019.

Certifications raise the bar towards safer patient care by adding accountability and oversight from an outside organization that specializes in best practices and performance improvement that is sustainable over time. This is how Norman Regional’s journey began and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it achieved certification in Perinatal Care in March of 2021 becoming the first in Oklahoma.

The First Certified OB Emergency Department in the United States

Since opening its OB Emergency Department and going through the Center of Excellence certification, Norman Regional felt this area could improve by adding even more specialized treatment and care pathways.

“This certification validates the importance of the OBED,” said Dr. Kinde Aguilar, OB Hospitalist Group site director at Norman Regional HealthPlex. “Not only does an OBED provide an extra level of care for patients but it also ensures nurses are practicing within the scope of their practice and private OB partners are supported.”

Norman Regional’s HealthPlex is home to the OBED, as well as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Mother Baby, and Labor and Delivery Units.

“We are very excited and honored to receive this prestigious recognition. From the beginning, we have strived to ensure that our OB Emergency Services provide excellence in practice and serves as a model program for evidenced-based care,” said Annette Troxell, RN, Norman Regional’s Director of Women & Children’s Services.

Troxell continued, “We now have the validation that our efforts were successful. I am so proud of this team of nurses and OB hospitalists who provide daily exceptional care to the pregnant patients that we serve.”

CIHQ officials spent a day evaluating our OBED with more than 20 elements required to receive designation as a ‘Center of Excellence in Emergency Services’. Norman Regional was the first OB Emergency Department in the nation to be surveyed and recognized for this certification.

“CIHQ commends Norman Regional Health System on its achievement of this designation. This designation recognizes hospitals that demonstrate excellence in care and services provided to their communities,” said Richard Curtis, Chief Executive Officer of CIHQ.

The process began with Norman Regional Health System identifying CIHQ as an organization that had previously provided guidance for its outpatient rehabilitation services and had best practice standards in place for Emergency Department care. After collaboration and some time, CIHQ was able to design standards and publish guidelines specific to antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum patients seeking emergency care at Norman Regional HealthPlex’s OBED. Once the guidelines were published, the OBED team went to work, resulting in an in-depth CIHQ evaluation of the program. After addressing two identified areas needing revision, Norman Regional HealthPlex’s OBED received an official report on April 12, 2023, as the first certified OB Emergency Department in the United States; adding to the NRHS Centers of Excellence.

Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care

In January 2023, the Joint Commission retired the previous designation in Perinatal Care and added a new Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care with even more stringent guidelines. Deciding to pursue this certification was easy after witnessing the significant impact the Perinatal Care certification had made on numerous performance improvement projects including early elective delivery, cesarean delivery, C-section infection prevention and exclusive breastfeeding rates.

The highly engaged team of medical department leaders, maternal child leaders and perinatal healers were ready and eager to ensure the additional requirements were met and sustained prior to our application. Our survey took place on March 30 and 31 with one finding to address. Our official designation was received on May 3; changing our Center of Excellence in Perinatal Care to Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care.


Norman Regional is thrilled to announce the achievement of both certifications in the OB Emergency Department by CIHQ and Advanced Certification in Perinatal Care by the Joint Commission.

These certifications convey to the public how much Norman Regional values safe, quality care. We want our patients and future patients to see and understand the time, money and resources we pour into this work is for them; so they can be confident in the care provided to them and their growing family, Troxell said.

Norman Regional offers many services for women and children. From expectant mothers to children needing hospitalization Norman Regional's expert team can handle you and your family’s needs. Learn more about Norman's Regional Women's and Children's services on our website.