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Lamaze Applauds New CMS Outcome Measures to Reduce Early Elective Deliveries

Statement From:
Maria Brooks, BSN, RNC-OB, LCCE, FACCE
President, Lamaze International

Media Contact:  
Melissa Zuckerman, JPA Health Communications,
202-591-4021, melissa@jpa.com

Washington, D.C. (November 2, 2015)—Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (HVBP) announced the adoption of a new clinical care process measure for early elective deliveries. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2017, hospitals will have the financial incentive to reduce early elective deliveries via labor induction or cesarean surgery.

Childbirth is the most common reason for inpatient hospital admission, making it a significant contributor to healthcare costs. Maternity care in the United States routinely incorporates interventions that are often overused and used when not medically necessary. Instead of improving care, in low-risk pregnancies and deliveries, these interventions can contribute to increased maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.  Interventions can be lifesaving, but they must be used when the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s estimated that 10 to 15 percent of births in the United States are early elective deliveries, performed with no medical reason.[1]   

Although some high-risk pregnancies may require early deliveries, the HVBP Program’s acknowledgement of the costs and complications associated with early elective deliveries is a step forward for evidence-based care practices and better health outcomes for women and newborns.

Childbirth education has been shown to reduce elective deliveries. As Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators, we welcome the opportunity to work with hospitals to educate expectant mothers and their partners to ensure they make informed decisions with their labor and delivery team. This should reduce the number of elective deliveries and contribute to meeting this new clinical process measure.   

Click here to learn more about labor induction.

About Lamaze International

Lamaze International advances safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available. Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices. The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE). To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org.

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[1] Clark, S.L., Miller, D.D., Belfort, M.A., Dildy, G.A., Frye, D.K., Meyers, J.A. Neonatal and maternal outcomes associated with elective term delivery. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  2009; 156, e1-4.  doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.08.068

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