Virginia Focuses on Improving Care of Infants Affected by Substance Use

Virginia Task Force Focuses on Improving Care of Infants Affected by Substance Use

Virginia Neonatal-Perinatal Collaborative to implement Vermont Oxford Network’s NAS Universal Training

The Virginia Neonatal-Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (VNPC) is launching Vermont Oxford Network’s NAS Universal Training Program to standardize care and improve outcomes for infants and families affected by substance use, an important growing public health challenge in Virginia.

Led by the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, and Virginia March of Dimes, 38 neonatal intensive care units and birthing hospitals across the state will implement the training and audit package in an effort to improve care related to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome experienced by infants exposed to opioids while in utero.

Vermont Oxford Network (VON) offers translational science and implementation expertise in the systematic rapid-cycle adoption of potentially better practices. The statewide NAS Universal Training Program evolved from VON’s quality improvement collaborative that brought together more than 200 individual hospitals over three years to implement evidence-based practices and develop innovative service models. By the end of the collaborative, participating teams reduced length of stay by two days, which, if scaled nationally, would be an estimated potential savings in hospital charges of $170 million.

“Ultimately, it is about collectively raising standards, improving outcomes, improving family satisfaction and engagement, and increasing capacity for empathy in a high-stress care environment,” said Madge Buus-Frank, executive vice president and director of quality improvement and education at VON. “We welcome these new members to Vermont Oxford Network and congratulate the state of Virginia for committing to improving the quality, safety and value of care for this vulnerable population.”

Virginia joins six states – Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin – to address the opioid epidemic’s effects on newborns and families at the statewide level. The statewide project was made possible through the VNPC partnership with the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) and funding from the General Assembly.

About Vermont Oxford Network
Vermont Oxford Network (VON) is a worldwide community of health care professionals dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and value of care for newborn infants and their families through a coordinated program of data-driven quality improvement, education, and research. Members use confidential information from the world’s largest and most comprehensive databases of infant data to benchmark their practices and outcomes and identify areas for improvement. Teams from around the world address critical and complex challenges of newborn care with evidence-based quality improvement methods guided by VON expert faculty and resources.

About The Virginia Neonatal Perinatal Collaborative
The Virginia Neonatal Perinatal Collaborative exists to ensure that every mother has the best possible perinatal care, and every infant cared for in Virginia has the best possible start to life. We believe in an evidence-based, data-driven collaborative process that involves care providers for women, infants, and families, as well as state and local leaders. We believe that working together now will create a stronger, healthier Virginia in the future. For information regarding this and other initiatives of the VNPC, please visit our website at or contact us at

About The Virginia Department of Health
The Virginia Department of Health is dedicated to protecting the health and promoting the well-being of all people in Virginia. The agency’s vision is for Virginia to become the healthiest state in the nation. As a unified health system that includes a Central Office, 35 health districts and 119 health departments, VDH has 41 service areas that reflect the extensive range of VDH’s statutory responsibilities. VDH products and services benefit Virginians across their life span and can be broadly categorized as communicable disease prevention and control; preventive health services; environmental health hazards protection; drinking water protection; emergency preparedness response and recovery; emergency medical services; medical examiner and anatomical services; health assessment, promotion and education; health planning, quality oversight, and access to care; vital records and health statistics; and community health services.

About The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. By lobbying for policies to protect them, working to radically improve the healthcare they receive, pioneering research to find solutions to the toughest problems and empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies, March of Dimes builds on an 80-year legacy of impact and innovation to support every mom and every baby. Visit our websites and  For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter