Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 410. Regulations for the Licensure of Hospitals in Virginia

12VAC5-410-441. Obstetric service requirements; medical direction; physician consultation and coverage; nurse staffing and coverage; policies and procedures.

A. The governing body shall appoint a physician as medical director of the organized obstetric service who meets the qualifications specified in the medical staff bylaws.

1. If the medical director is not a board certified obstetrician or board eligible in obstetrics, the hospital shall have a written agreement with one or more board-certified or board-eligible obstetricians to provide consultation on a 24-hour basis. Consultation may be by telephone.

2. The duties and responsibilities of the medical director of obstetric services shall include :

a. The general supervision of the quality of care provided patients admitted to the service;

b. The establishment of criteria for admission to the service;

c. The adherence to standards of professional practices and policies and procedures adopted by the medical staff and governing body;

d. The development of recommendations to the medical staff on standards of professional practice and staff privileges;

e. The identification of clinical conditions and medical or surgical procedures that require physician consultation; and

f. Arranging conferences, at least quarterly, to review obstetrical surgical procedures, complications and infant and maternal mortality and morbidity. Infant mortality and morbidity shall be discussed jointly between the obstetric and newborn service staffs.

B. A physician with obstetrical privileges capable of arriving on-site within 30 minutes of notification shall be on a 24-hour on-call duty roster.

C. A physician with obstetrical privileges shall be accessible for patient treatment within 10 minutes during the administration of an oxytocic agent to an antepartum patient.

D. A physician or a certified nurse-midwife, under the supervision of a physician with obstetrical privileges, shall be in attendance for each delivery. Physician supervision of the nurse-midwife shall be in compliance with the regulations of the Boards of Nursing and Medicine.

E. A physician shall be in attendance during all high-risk deliveries. High-risk deliveries shall be defined by the obstetric service medical staff.

F. A physician or a nurse skilled in neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) shall be available in the hospital at all times.

G. A current roster of physicians, with a delineation of their obstetrical, newborn, pediatric, medical and surgical staff privileges, shall be posted at each nurses' station in the obstetric suite and in the emergency room.

H. A copy of the 24-hour on-call duty schedule, including the list of on-call consulting physicians, shall be posted at each nurses' station in the obstetric suite and in the emergency room.

I. An occupied unit of the obstetrics service shall be supervised by a registered nurse 24 hours a day.

J. If the postpartum unit is organized as a separate nursing unit, staffing shall be based on a formula of one nursing personnel for every six to eight obstetric patients. Staffing shall include at least one registered nurse for the unit for each duty shift.

K. If the postpartum and general care newborn units are organized as combined rooming-in or modified rooming-in units, staffing shall be based on a formula of one nursing personnel for every four mother-baby units. The rooming-in units shall be staffed at all times with no less than two nursing personnel each shift. At least one of the two nursing personnel on each shift shall be a registered nurse.

L. A registered nurse shall be in attendance at all deliveries. The nurse shall be available on-site to monitor the mother's general condition and that of the fetus during labor, at least one hour after delivery, and longer if complications occur.

M. Nurse staffing of the labor and delivery unit shall be scheduled to ensure that the total number of nursing personnel available on each shift is equal to one half of the average number of deliveries in the hospital during a 24-hour period.

N. At least one of the personnel assigned to each shift on the obstetrics unit shall be a registered nurse. At no time when the unit is occupied shall the nursing staff on any shift be less than two staff members.

O. Patients placed under analgesia or anesthesia during labor or delivery shall be under continuous observation by a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse for at least one hour after delivery.

P. To ensure adequate nursing staff for labor, delivery, and postpartum units during busy or crisis periods, duty schedules shall be developed in accordance with the following nurse/patient ratios:

1. 1:1 to 2 Antepartum testing

2. 1:2 Laboring patients

3. 1:1 Patients in second stage of labor

4. 1:1 Ill patients with complications

5. 1:2 Oxytocin induction or augmentation of labor

6. 1:2 Coverage of epidural anesthesia

7. 1:1 Circulation for cesarean delivery

8. 1:6 to 8 Antepartum/postpartum patients without complications

9. 1:2 Postoperative recovery

10. 1:3 Patients with complications, but in stable condition

11. 1:4 Mother-newborn care

Q. Student nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing aides who assist in the nursing care of obstetric patients shall be under the supervision of a registered nurse.

R. At least one registered nurse trained in obstetric and neonatal care shall be assigned to the care of mothers and infants at all times.

S. At least one member of the nursing staff on each shift who is skilled in cardiopulmonary resuscitation of the newborn must be immediately available to the delivery suite.

T. All nursing personnel assigned to the obstetric service shall have orientation to the obstetrical unit.

U. The governing body shall adopt written policies and procedures for the management of obstetric patients approved by the medical and nursing staff assigned to the service.

1. The policies and procedures shall include the following:

a. Criteria for the identification and referral of high-risk obstetric patients;

b. The types of birthing alternatives, if offered, by the hospital;

c. The monitoring of patients during antepartum, labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum periods with or without the use of electronic equipment;

d. The use of equipment and personnel required for high-risk deliveries, including multiple births;

e. The presence of family members or chosen companions during labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum periods;

f. The reporting, to the Department of Health, of all congenital defects;

g. The care of patients during labor and delivery to include the administration of Rh O(D) immunoglobulin to Rh negative mothers who have met eligibility criteria. Administration of RH O(D) immunoglobulin shall be documented in the patient's medical record;

h. The provision of family planning information, to each obstetric patient at time of discharge, in accordance with § 32.1-134 of the Code of Virginia;

i. The use of specially trained paramedical and nursing personnel by the obstetrics and newborn service units;

j. A protocol for hospital personnel to use to assist them in obtaining public health, nutrition, genetic and social services for patients who need those services;

k. The use of anesthesia with obstetric patients;

l. The use of radiological and electronic services, including safety precautions, for obstetric patients;

m. The management of mothers who utilize breast milk with their newborns. Breast milk shall be collected in aseptic containers, dated, stored under refrigeration and consumed or disposed of within 24 48 hours of collection if the breast milk has not been frozen. This policy pertains to breast milk collected while in the hospital or at home for hospital use;

n. Staff capability to perform cesarean sections within 30 minutes of notice;

o. Emergency resuscitation procedures for mothers and infants;

p. The treatment of volume shock in mothers;

q. Training of hospital staff in discharge planning for identified substance abusing, postpartum women and their infants;

r. Written discharge planning for identified substance abusing, postpartum women and their infants. The discharge plans shall include appropriate referral sources available in the community or locality for mother and infants such as:

(1) Substance abuse treatment services; and

(2) Comprehensive early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families pursuant to Part H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC § 1471 et seq.

(3) The discharge planning process shall be coordinated by a health care professional and shall include, to the extent possible:

(a) The father of the infant; and

(b) Any family members who may participate in the follow-up care of the mother or infant.

The discharge plan shall be discussed with the mother and documented in the medical record; and

s. The provision of information pursuant to § 32.1-134.01 of the Code of Virginia about the incidence of postpartum blues, perinatal depression, and perinatal anxiety; information to increase awareness of shaken baby syndrome and the dangers of shaking infants; and information about safe sleep environments for infants that is consistent with current information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

2. The obstetric service shall adopt written policies and procedures for the use of the labor, delivery and recovery rooms (LDR)/Labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms (LDRP) that include, but are not limited to the following:

a. The philosophy, goals and objectives for the use of the LDR/LDRP rooms;

b. Criteria for patient eligibility to use the LDR/LDRP rooms;

c. Identification of high-risk conditions which disqualify patients from use of the LDR/LDRP rooms;

d. Patient care in LDR/LDRP rooms, including the following;

(1) Defining vital signs, the intervals at which they shall be taken, and requirements for documentation; and

(2) Observing, monitoring, and assessing the patient by a registered nurse, certified nurse midwife, or physician;

e. The types of analgesia and anesthesia to be used in LDR/LDRP rooms;

f. Specifications of conditions of labor or delivery requiring transfer of the patient from LDR/LDRP rooms to the delivery room;

g. Specification of conditions requiring the transfer of the mother to the postpartum unit or the newborn to the nursery;

h. Criteria for early or routine discharge of the mother and newborn;

i. The completion of medical records;

j. The presence of family members or chosen companions in the delivery room or operating room in the event that the patient is transferred to the delivery room or operating room;

k. The number of visitors allowed in the LDR/LDRP room, and their relationship to the mother; and

l. Infection control, including gowning and attire to be worn by persons in the LDR/LDRP room, upon leaving it, and upon returning.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-127 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 12VAC5-41-440 C 1 to 4 derived from VR 355-33-500 § 2.28, eff. July 28, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 8, eff. April 1, 1995; Volume 11, Issue 16, eff. June 1, 1995; Volume 11, Issue 21, eff. August 10, 1995; amended and adopted as 12VAC5-410-441, Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 6, eff. February 14, 2005; Volume 37, Issue 14, eff. April 15, 2021.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.