HPCI News: Castlight - Leapfrog High Risk Delivery Report

To: Members and Selected Others

Among private insured women ages 19-44, child birth accounts for the majority of all U.S. hospitalizations. Thus, the quality of maternity care is critically important.

According to a new Castlight – Leapfrog Group report there are too many high-risk, very low birth weight babies delivered at hospitals ill-equipped to care for them. This was based on analysis by The Leapfrog Group and Castlight Health of 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey results.

Research shows that highly vulnerable, very low weight babies are more likely to survive in a hospital with an experienced neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on site or co-located. Leapfrog recommends hospitals deliver at least 50 very low birth weight babies annually or maintain a lower than average morbidity ratio for very low birth weight as measured by the Vermont-Oxford Network and, in both cases, ensure that at least 80% of mothers receive antenatal steroids prior to delivery.

“It is disheartening to see how many vulnerable babies are being delivered at hospitals that lack the optimal experience and environment to care for them”, said Leah Binder, President and CEO of Leapfrog.

Additional key findings include:

  • Neonatal intensive care unit volume - a key indicator of experience with high-risk deliveries – can vary widely even within the same city.
  • In 2016, too few hospitals fully met Leapfrog’s standard for high-risk deliveries. Only 23% of the hospitals that electively deliver very low birth weight babies met the standard. Every hospital across the country has vast room for improvement. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Kansas were 2016 top performing states for high risk deliveries with 40% of their hospitals fully meeting Leapfrog’s standards. There is no comparative information for Iowa as too few hospitals reported.

"Public reporting in all aspects of health care quality and safety is critical,” said Jonathan Rende, Chief R&D Officer at Castlight. “Castlight and Leapfrog are dedicated to raising awareness of this need in order to provide families, employers, and purchasers with the right types of information when making important health care decisions, such as the high-risk delivery of very-low weight babies.”

For more information, visit http://hpci.org/Castlight-Leapfrog-High-Risk-Report-2017.pdf

Good News on protecting mothers and babies: Leapfrog’s ground breaking reporting sparked a movement that led to the reduction of Early Elective Delivery rates by 84% nationwide.

Paul M. Pietzsch, MPH
HPCI - IHBA Office
4430 Ashley Park Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
(515) 778-6300

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