New Jersey has made significant progress in maternity care in the past two years. At the same time, a new report has found that only eight hospitals in the Garden State fully meet three key measures of care — just one in six of the 49 hospitals surveyed in New Jersey.
The 2019 Maternity Care Report by The Leapfrog Group — which examined in-depth how participating hospitals perform on best practices for cesarean sections, early elective delivery, and episiotomy rates — found that in New Jersey the rates of early elective deliveries dropped from 3.11 percent in 2016 to less than one percent in 2018; the rates for episiotomies dropped from 13.08 percent in 2016 to 10.17 in 2018; and cesarean rates ticked down from 28.25 percent in 2016 to 27.84 percent in 2018, while the national rate is 26.1 percent. (The report is based on the results of the 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Survey.)
But only the following New Jersey hospitals were found to fully meet Leapfrog’s maternity-care standards for all three of the key measures. They are: Cooper University Hospital; Inspira Medical Center Elmer; Inspira Medical Center Vineland; Jefferson Washington Township Hospital; RWJ Barnabas Health Monmouth Medical Center; Trinitas Regional Medical Center; University Hospital; and Virtua Voorhees Hospital.
The Leapfrog Group is a national watchdog organization focused on healthcare safety and quality. Its new report also concluded that, nationwide, only 20 percent of hospitals fully meet Leapfrog standards on all three critical maternity measures.
Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, the Regional Leader for Leapfrog, said new laws in New Jersey are expected to prompt more hospitals to achieve better results. One new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy prevents payment for early elective deliveries — births induced prior to 39 weeks for no medical reason — by the state’s Medicaid program and the State Health Benefits Program. Another new law creates a program in Medicaid, known as an Episode of Care, that creates incentives to deliver higher quality and more holistic care for women during and after pregnancy.