As we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, another healthcare crisis continues to loom—our country’s maternal health.
While the United States has one of the most technologically advanced healthcare systems in the world, we have the highest maternal death rate of any developed country. Equally alarming are the disparities in outcomes based on factors such as race, ethnicity, geographic region, payer status and even care models at healthcare facilities.
Beyond the tragic, unnecessary deaths that occur each year, thousands of women experience severe maternal morbidity—unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to their health.
Research indicates that as many as two-thirds of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. This week, the Department of HHS and the U.S. Surgeon General made significant announcements regarding maternal healthcare, announcing a vision for ensuring the U.S. is one of the safest countries in the world to give birth.
The Action Plan to Improve Maternal Health in America outlines strategies clinicians, pregnant women, states, health systems and local communities can take to prevent deaths and complications tied to pregnancy. It also sets targets for us to strive for:
- Reduce maternal mortality by 50% in 5 years to 8.7 per 100,000 live births
- Reduce NTSV C/S rates by 25% in 5 years to 19.4 per 100 NTSV deliveries
- Achieve 80% target blood pressure control for women of reproductive age
The plan specifically aims to expand the adoption of clinical best practices in maternal health and improve access to quality prenatal care for at-risk populations. It also pursues strategies to close coverage and care gaps for postpartum women after pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage expires.
OBHG fully supports the new plan and call-to-action to reduce U.S. pregnancy related deaths. As an organization focused on evidence-based best practices, our initiatives are closely aligned with the clinical quality goals outlined in the report.
Our 1,000+ obstetricians and midwives providing proactive care in hospitals across the U.S. will continue to work with our hospital partners to support and expand efforts to address maternal mortality, reduce C-sections and improve health around hypertension in pregnancy. Nationally, our providers have an average NTSV C-section rate of 20.3 percent on patients we manage, and we continue to launch new initiatives to further lower the rate for our patients and all patients within our hospital partner sites.
Improving outcomes for mothers and babies has been a priority at OBHG since day one. The success of our approach in developing and managing customized OB hospitalist programs has resulted in our ability to consistently outperform national benchmarks and move the needle on hospital metrics.
We look forward to working with hospitals, health systems, clinicians, local communities and industry partners in furthering efforts to prevent deaths and complications tied to pregnancy and ensuring that the U.S. is one of the safest countries in the world to give birth.