May 25, 2021
How Can Pregnant Consumers Make Smart Choices about Hospitals and Providers?
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
An evaluation tool for pregnant consumers
Late last month, U.S. News & World Report announced that in the fall of 2021, they will be publishing the first of what will be a regular release of the “Best Hospitals for Maternity” in the United States. Pregnant consumers currently do not have easy access to information that can help them to make informed choices about which health care providers and facilities to choose to receive care from during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. Many expectant families make their decisions as a result of proximity to home or work, locations on a specific health insurance list, or a history of having received previous care from that person or hospital. Families are not easily able to find and use the information they need to select providers and hospitals based on the quality of care they and their baby(ies) are likely to receive.
Hospitals are being requested to submit their data directly via a "Best Hospitals Dashboard" before May 28, 2021. If the information is received by then, that facility will be included and evaluated for recognition as “Best Hospitals for Maternity” status. Hospitals can submit their data via this survey available to registered users.
What goes into the evaluation?
The four maternal care measures that are being used to determine which hospitals are providing optimum care are:
- Cesarean birth rate in low-risk pregnant people
- Rate of exclusive breast/chestfeeding
- Unexpected complications rate in term newborns.
- Hospitals must state whether they support vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, with a simple yes or no.
The information from the first three questions above has long been used to determine a hospital’s accreditation through The Joint Commission, which is the largest hospital accreditation organization in the United States. Consumers can find this information on The Joint Commission Quality Check website, which frankly is not all that easy to navigate. The Best Hospitals for Maternity will be determined by a U.S. News analysis after the raw information has been received. U.S. News methodology for Best Hospitals for Maternity will also consider quality measures, such as early elective delivery rate, from the federal website Care Compare.
In addition to submitting outcomes, hospitals will also be able to share the different options that parents may choose for their birthing experience, such as water birth, nitrous oxide and more. This information will be available under the hospital’s profile but will not used to determine who qualifies for “Best Hospitals for Maternity” status.
The specific criteria used to determine which hospitals find themselves on the “Best Hospitals for Maternity” list will be finalized before the fall by gathering input from parents and people of reproductive age, medical professionals, national perinatal organizations, and equity experts. The hospitals will not be ranked for their status this fall, but a ranking system may be considered in future reports.
Easy and accurate information is imperative
If families are to make informed decisions about where to give birth, the information that they need, must be accurate, current and easily accessible. Additionally, an evidence based childbirth class, such as those provided by Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators helps families to understand what factors to consider when evaluating where to have their babies. Hopefully, the addition of this U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals for Maternity” report will help families to make well-educated and informed decisions when choosing where and with whom to birth.
TagsPregnancy Postpartum Evidence based care Sharon Muza Labor & Birth Best Hospitals for Maternity U.S. News & World Report Best Practice