In First ‘Best Hospitals for Maternity’ List, Not All States Have High Performers

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For patients and families considering where to seek maternity care, these 237 facilities earned top marks on the inaugural “Best Hospitals for Maternity” list from U.S. News & World Report.

Eight states boasted 10 or more high-performing hospitals. At the top of the pack were Illinois and New Jersey, with 15 each, and California, with a whopping 33. However, nine states, along with Washington, D.C., had none.

“All families deserve to be informed on how hospitals perform on key indicators of quality,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis for U.S. News, in a statement. “Hospitals that performed well had fewer newborn complications, fewer early deliveries and fewer C-sections compared to other hospitals across the nation.”

Of note, U.S. News looked at hospital data related to only uncomplicated pregnancies — not high-risk pregnancies — which included five factors: scheduled early deliveries, cesarean section rates in low-risk women, newborn complications, rate of exclusive breast milk feeding, and option for vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC).

The 237 high-performing hospitals had average nulliparous, term, singleton, vertex (NTSV) C-section rates of 21.1%; early elective delivery rates of 1.3%; overall unexpected newborn complication rates of 2.4%; and exclusive breast milk feeding rates of 58.6%, U.S. News reported. In addition, 92.4% offered routine options for VBAC.

Participating hospital profiles also included information on services and amenities, such as private rooms, valet parking, and availability of child birthing classes.

Most of the data used in the methodology report were collected directly from hospitals, U.S. News noted. Data submission was voluntary, and there was no fee to participate in the evaluation.

Limitations of the methodology included the fact that it did not account for social factors, such as structural racism, according to U.S. News. In addition, participating hospitals were not representative of all hospitals that provide maternity care. The analysis covered 571 hospitals that chose to participate and met criteria for evaluation, representing about 38% of total annual deliveries in the U.S.

The analysis was also not able to be generalized to high-risk obstetrics, U.S. News said.

Following is a list of states with the highest number of high-performing hospitals, as well as a list of states that have none, according to the inaugural list.

States With Most High-Performing Hospitals

  • California: 33
  • Illinois: 15
  • New Jersey: 15
  • Colorado: 14
  • Michigan: 12
  • North Carolina: 11
  • Wisconsin: 11
  • Pennsylvania: 10

States Without High-Performing Hospitals

  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

The full “Best Hospitals for Maternity” list is available here.

This list is not the only new healthcare area of attention for U.S. News. In September, they included bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs for the first time in their rankings. The move came as the demand for nurses had reached new heights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Jennifer Henderson joined MedPage Today as an enterprise and investigative writer in Jan. 2021. She has covered the healthcare industry in NYC, life sciences and the business of law, among other areas.

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