The Joint Commission begins to report hospital C-section rates

Despite increasing attention and concerns about unnecessary C-sections, the rate of babies born by C-section in the U.S. is still high. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports than more than 31 percent of all deliveries in the U.S. were by C-section in 2018.

To encourage organizations to reduce C-sections, The Joint Commission is now publicly reporting hospital performance on NTSV cesarean birth rates. Performance measures are reported on the Quality Check® website.

This action comes on the heels of the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent action plan to improve maternal health, which includes reducing NTSV C-section rates by 25 percent in five years.

Variation in C-section delivery rates among hospitals and providers suggests hospitals are able to safely improve their rates. According to The Joint Commission, by identifying hospitals with consistently high C-section rates, they hope to encourage leaders to work to safely reduce their rates.

OBHG’s role in reducing C-section rates across the unit

Helping hospitals reduce unnecessary C-sections is one of OBHG’s top clinical priorities. Through their continuous 24-hour presence on the labor and delivery unit, OBHG clinicians make a direct and immediate impact on medically unnecessary C-section rates.

OBHG clinicians have the demonstrated ability to reduce the NTSV C-section rates for the deliveries they perform (current average is 20.3 percent), but also across the entire unit.

To support hospitals in lowering unnecessary C-section rates, OBHG clinicians:

  • Help with admission and management protocols to ensure C-sections aren’t called for prematurely
  • Utilize OBHG specific resources, such as OBHG’s C-section Reduction Toolkit, to help identify challenges, assess data and prioritize opportunities
  • Serve as C-section “consultants” for nursing staff, midwives, family medical doctors and private OB/GYNs to provide decision making support to ensure appropriate C-section utilization
  • Assist community physicians on complicated deliveries to identify potential safe alternatives to C-sections
  • Support nursing staff by reading concerning fetal tracings that may be safe to watch a while longer before a C-section is warranted
  • Collaborate with hospital administration and the medical staff to impact systematic changes to promote more vaginal deliveries

In 2020, we identified that 67 percent of hospitals with NTSV C-section rates over 30 percent at the beginning of an OBHG partnership saw a 10 percent reduction in their overall NTSV C-section rates. While we know that our efforts to help our hospital partners lower C-section rates are making a difference, we continue to launch new initiatives to further lower the C-section rate for all patients within our hospital partner sites.

Making an overall positive impact on maternal health

OBHG clinicians reduce unnecessary C-sections while also reducing bad outcomes and improving overall patient care. They accomplish this by:

  • Remaining available around the clock to respond to emergencies and monitor women in labor
  • Reducing time in decision to delivery, which lowers rates of adverse events
  • Conducting audits against nationally published best practices to identify areas of opportunity
  • Establishing best practices throughout the unit and serving as positive examples in adhering to the best practices
  • Tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of the 1,000+ clinicians across OBHG’s network nationwide
  • Partnering with patients and families via open and honest communication to set expectations while laboring
  • Supporting women during vaginal labor under safe and low-risk circumstances

As hospitals nationwide continue to focus on reducing medically unnecessary C-sections, OBHG’s obstetricians and midwives across the U.S. will continue to work with our hospital partners to support and expand efforts to reduce unnecessary C-sections.

Click here to learn more about how OB hospitalists support hospital C-section reduction initiatives.  If you would like to have a discussion with our team about OBHG’s efforts to lower C-section rates, complete the form on this page and a member of our Business Development Team will contact you.

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