Valley View Hospital is a true champion of improving the care of Colorado families impacted by substance use and pregnancy.

One of the ways they demonstrate this is through their participation in many of our state’s relevant initiatives, including CHoSEN QIC (Colorado Hospital Substance Exposed Newborns Quality Improvement Collaborative), our state’s AIM SUD (Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Substance Use Disorder) Learning Collaborative, and the IMPACT (IMprove Perinatal Access, Coordination & Treatment) Behavioral Health project

We connected with the Director of Family Birthplace at Valley View Hospital, Michele ‘Mic’ Zywiec, RN, MSN, to learn more about Valley View’s participation across these initiatives.​

What led/motivates the team at Valley View Hospital to participate in these initiatives?

“I am a member of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee for the state of Colorado. [Two of my colleagues at Valley View], Bonnie Sihler, CNM and Dr. Katie Mang-Smith are also on the review committee. After seeing that the leading cause of maternal mortality is suicide and overdose, it brought awareness to how we approach these topics at our institution. We were involved in the CHoSEN initiative and joining in on the AIM Substance Use Disorder initiative seemed like what we needed to do for our clients to help them navigate care and obtain the resources they need.”

What does Valley View Hospital’s participation in each initiative look like and how do you see them all fitting together and complementing each other?

“CHoSEN treats infants born to mothers using substances. This helps us keep our babies and mothers together and support the baby that has withdrawal symptoms. We then also try to set up resources for follow up with these families.  The AIM SUD Learning Collaborative starts screening early in pregnancy and makes referrals early on to help families navigate the pregnancy and postpartum period with the support they need to decrease substance use or have a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) provider prescribe different, safer medications during pregnancy and hopefully try to reduce the use of substances. We will also screen for mental health conditions and make referrals for these individuals as well. Our goal is always to keep families together and to give them the support and resources they need.”

What have been the biggest impacts of participating in these initiatives- on Valley View Hospital’s work and/or on the families you work with?

“We have seen shorter lengths of stay for the newborns with substance exposure. We have been able to get more of a support system in place for those working with social services by pairing them with a peer support person who helps families through the process based on the expertise of their own lived experience. All of our staff members have completed SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) training so that we can screen patients and then make referrals as needed. This has brought awareness to our staff.  Through the trainings, we have had many educational opportunities for staff and providers to learn more about resources around the state and programs we can use. Recently, the Colorado Naloxone Project presented to our provider/staff group about giving out naloxone to high-risk patients. They gave suggestions on how to help the patient feel comfortable accepting the medication without shaming them. We have had the Naloxone Project active in our unit, but this will help us with better rates of dispensing this life-saving medication.”


Want to learn more about Colorado Naloxone Project? Watch the presentation they gave during the May 2022 CHoSEN Forum.

Finally, Michelle had these words of advice to share with others who are considering participating in these or similar initiatives:

Start small with small acts of change in your hospital and clinics.

    • Meet with your clinics to see where everyone is and what support and screenings you all offer.  
    • Have a book of resources in your patient care areas so you can access resources when a patient needs them. 
    • Know your community partners and have meetings once a year or more to keep in contact and know your resources. It is worth the energy and time to help patients in crisis. 
    • The free monthly educational resources from CPCQC provided during the AIM SUD Learning Collaborative’s monthly coaching calls are invaluable and so insightful. No matter what the topic, we always have something to take away. The best part is they are recorded so if you cannot join the meeting live, you can watch it later and have the same education. I am able to educate the entire staff by sharing the recording with them. The Colorado Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative has made it easy to make change. The resources are given to you and the other hospitals share freely the resources they have developed. 

    I encourage every hospital or clinic to join what they can ​and get the education to the providers that need it.

We are so inspired by the Valley View Hospital team’s dedication to and participation in so many efforts to improve their support of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy. Have questions or want to learn more about any of these initiatives? Reach out to us at!

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