Steep Drop Seen in Medically Unnecessary C-Sections

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , March 3, 2014

"We were hearing quite a lot of information about NICUs being populated by these babies," Binder says. "And there's very little in the world that's more heartbreaking than a baby in the NICU for no good reason. What this comes down to is that hospitals head true north for the good of the patient."

Binder notes that the momentum of change picked up between 2012 and 2013, "with the rate of early elective deliveries cut in half from 2012 alone," from 11.2% in 2012 to 4.6% in 2013.

Leapfrog Group was not the first organization to be concerned about the problem, Binder says. The March of Dimes and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology had been talking about this for decades, she says. "But these got very little attention and no traction.

"We put out the data. We said here's the problem, and here's where it is, which hospitals are doing what," Binder says.

Binder says that there is still work to be done for the 280 reporting hospitals that still have rates over 5%. "We hope to see them join their colleagues in preventing these deliveries in the future," she says.

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