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Second Report Card for Maternity Hospital Care Released

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By Press Release

TRENTON – Continuing its mission to improve maternal health outcomes and racial disparities, First Lady Tammy Murphy and the Department of Health Sept. 4 released the second New Jersey Report Card of Hospital Maternity Care that includes interactive data on hospital-specific and statewide surgical births, complication rates, and severe maternal birth complications.
According to a release, the 2018 report card shows some aspects of maternity care, in New Jersey, have improved since 2016, such as cesarean delivery rates, which dropped from 35.7% to 34.4%. While sometimes medically necessary, a C-section is associated with elevated risks for hemorrhage, infection, complications from anesthesia, future pregnancy complications, and infant respiratory problems.
However, disparities in outcomes still exist amongst some mothers in New Jersey. In 2018, non-Hispanic Black mothers had the highest rate of severe maternal morbidity, with transfusion at a rate of 37.7 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations, an increase from the 2016 rate of 31.2 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations.
“Without reliable data, we cannot fully understand and address our maternal health crisis or its causes,” said Murphy. “While we have made some progress since our work began, in 2018, the fact remains that New Jersey still has much work to do to erase the deep-seated maternal and infant health disparities within our Black and brown communities.”
The report card dashboard allows users to select a New Jersey birthing hospital and view the total number of births, methods of delivery, and complication rates — obstetric hemorrhage, third-and fourth-degree perineal lacerations, post-admission infections, and severe maternal morbidity. Severe maternal morbidity is defined as unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short-or long-term health impacts. These include aneurysm, cardiac arrest, sepsis, eclampsia, severe anesthesia complications, blood transfusion, and other unexpected outcomes.
The report card enables users to compare rates by hospital and view statewide breakdowns by race/ethnicity. Outcomes by factors, such as a mother’s age, education level, pre-pregnancy body mass index and health insurance type, can also be selected.
In addition to the rate of cesarean births among first-time mothers who carried a single fetus to term (37 or more weeks) in a head-first position (Nulliparous Term Singleton and Vertex), the latest report also includes Vaginal Birth After cesarean (VBAC) rates.
“Across New Jersey’s government there is a shared commitment to reducing maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities and we recognize that accurate, timely, and granular data are the backbone of all quality improvement efforts,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated.
Through First Lady Tammy Murphy’s Nurture NJ campaign, a multi-pronged, multi-agency initiative focused on reducing maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and ensuring equitable maternal and infant care among women and children of all races and ethnicities, the department is committed to sharing high quality data to drive improvements for mothers and babies. The first report card, based on 2016 data, was released last year.
This data is part of the department’s Maternal Data Center, which is updated regularly with resources for the public and providers and presents the department’s latest maternal health data.
In 2019, the department began releasing surgical/cesarean birth rates by hospital among women considered at low risk for birth complications. The national target for these surgical procedures is 23.9 per 100 live births, and New Jersey’s rate was above that target, at 30.3 per 100 live births, in 2018. Only 10 out of 49 New Jersey birthing hospitals meet the benchmark.
Earlier this year, First Lady Murphy announced the partnership between the Murphy administration, the Nicholson Foundation, and the Community Health Acceleration Partnership to develop a comprehensive, statewide maternal and infant health strategic plan, as part of Nurture NJ. The strategic plan, which will build on the administration’s progress over the past two years, aims to reduce New Jersey’s maternal mortality rate by 50% and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes.

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