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Some Hospitals Encourage Induced Deliveries, Watchdog Group Claims

05/07/12

  04:53:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Some Hospitals Encourage Induced Deliveries, Watchdog Group Claims

A rising number of early induced deliveries is affecting employer health care costs, Employee Benefit News reports.

While there is a definite need for some babies to be induced before full term (40 weeks gestation) because of medical reasons, a recent study by The Leapfrog Group claims that hospitals increasingly elect this option for other seasons, such as convenience for the mother or doctor – or higher fees for the hospital.

Leapfrog, an employer-driven hospital watchdog group, states that the rates of early elective deliveries should be no higher than 5%, yet a handful of hospitals report rates of over 40%. Moreover, studies suggest that increased use of elective induction of labor, combined with cesarean section between 34 and 36 weeks, have contributed to the increase in the late preterm births.

From the article:

“According to the World Health Organization, there is no medical reason for any region to have a cesarean birthrate higher than 15%. However, in November of 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the national cesarean birth rate at 29.1%, which was the highest rate ever recorded, involving more than a quarter of all births. Preterm birth costs total $26 billion annually, or $51,500 for every infant born prematurely. Nearly half of these costs, or almost $13 billion, fall to employers and other private insurers.”

“There are clear financial incentives [for hospitals to induce].” says Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder. She suggests that health plans pay more for vaginal births and less for elective preterm deliveries.

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