'Best Hospitals for Maternity' Offers National Perspective

Richard Franki

December 07, 2021

In a new evaluation of hospital maternity services, 237 facilities in 38 states earned high-performing status from U.S. News & World Report.

"The Best Hospitals for Maternity" looked at data for 2019 and covered uncomplicated but not high-risk pregnancies. "All families deserve to be informed on how hospitals perform on key indicators of quality, which is why U.S. News has compiled and published a trove of maternal health data from hospitals across the country," Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News, said in a written statement.

The 237 best performers were selected from an overall pool of 571 hospitals that participated in the analysis, representing every state except Alaska, Arkansas, and Vermont, U.S. News said, noting that about 2,700 hospitals in the United States offer maternity services.

California has the highest number of best performers, 33, followed by Illinois and New Jersey, both with 15. Colorado is home to 14 best-performing hospitals, Michigan has 12, and North Carolina and Wisconsin each have 12. "Hospitals that performed well had fewer newborn complications, fewer early deliveries and fewer C-sections, compared to other hospitals across the nation," Mr. Harder said.

The composite score constructed by U.S. News involved five quality measures: nulliparous, term, singleton, and vertex cesarean delivery rates; early elective delivery rates; unexpected newborn complications rates; routine vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) delivery availability; and exclusive breast milk–feeding rates. The composite score averaged 80.0 for high performers and 54.9 for the other participating hospitals, U.S. News reported.

Averages for the high performers on each of the five measures looked like this:

  • C-section rate, 21.1%.

  • Early elective delivery rate, 1.3%.

  • Overall unexpected newborn complication rates, 2.38%

  • Exclusive breast milk–feeding rate, 58.6%.

  • VBAC availability, 92.4%.

Data for four measures were collected from the hospitals via online survey over a 4-month window that began on April 29, 2021. Rates of early elective delivery came from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Care Compare.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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