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January 2011
Maternity Care Moving from Vision to Action through the TMC Partnership!

Webinar will explore disparities in maternity care | Finding home birth common ground | March of Dimes issues major report on perinatal quality U.S. leads industrialized nations in maternity care costs | Media gets savvy about maternity care 

Dear Friend,

Happy New Year from Childbirth Connection! As we mark one year since the publication of the Blueprint for Action, we face unprecedented opportunities and tremendous challenges in maternity care system transformation. The latest CDC statistics (PDF) tell us that the cesarean section rate has reached another historic high in 2009, capping off a 13-year unabated rise at 32.9%, and increasing in every group of women analyzed. Meanwhile, evidence for the iatrogenic harms of elective early deliveries is mounting. Yet, the way forward has never been as clear as it is now, thanks to the dedicated work of Transforming Maternity Care Project members. Together, let's make meaningful, measurable progress this year toward our 2020 Vision for a High-Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System.

A high quality, high value maternity care system is within reach, but none of us can do it alone.

Best wishes,
maureen_corry signature
Maureen Corry
Executive Director

Childbirth Connection

Take Action: Help Transform Maternity Care

Register for a free webinar to learn about efforts to reduce disparities in maternity care
As we begin a new session of Congress with health care reform and budget deficits on everyone's radar again, Childbirth Connection will host two health care leaders for a webinar on the intersection of maternity care disparities, health care law, and the rising cost of care. Kevin Fiscella, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community & Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry will review the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are intended to reduce maternity care disparities, and how these will help implement key recommendations from the Transforming Maternity Care Partnership's Blueprint for Action. Ray Cox, MD, Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology at St. Agnes Hospital, Maryland will present the business case for equity in maternity care, showing the economic impact of disparities in access and outcomes of maternity care. Join us for this free webinar, Tuesday January 18, 2011 from 12-1pm Eastern Time. Register.

Good News from the Field: Partners Putting the Blueprint into Action

Home birth summit seeks to create consensus among stakeholders
Planned home birth, while representing fewer than 1% of births in the United States, has generated intense and often polarizing debate in this country, even as elsewhere (e.g., Canada and the United Kingdom), efforts are underway to expand access to integrated home birth services. A grant from the Transforming Birth Foundation has been designated for the purpose of convening a U.S. Home Birth Consensus Summit to find a rational path forward. According to a statement from the American College of Nurse-Midwives, "Invited participants will include representatives from a variety of stakeholder sectors in positions to inform and influence a change process, and/or commit to measurable steps, including consumers and consumer advocates, home birth midwives, maternal/child health collaborating providers (including pediatrics and nursing), obstetricians (including at least one family practice obstetrician and one resident), hospital systems and administration, health plans and liability insurers, health policymakers, legislators and regulators, and public health, epidemiology, and research professionals."

March of Dimes issues major report on improving perinatal care
Following on landmark reports issued in 1976 and 1993, The March of Dimes has published Toward Improving Outcome of Pregnancy III: Enhancing Perinatal Health Through Quality, Safety and Performance Initiatives. With an emphasis on neonatal outcomes, the report addresses many of the focal areas of the TMC Blueprint for Action, including performance measurement and leveraging of results, disparities in access and outcomes of maternity care, and decision making and consumer choice. The report also urges the broad adoption of evidence-based practices such as CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care, skin-to-skin contact between mothers and babies, and exclusive breastmilk feeding. The full report can be downloaded for free (PDF).

Consider This: Resources to Expand Your Vision for Improvement

Independent analysis shows U.S. maternity care costliest among industrialized nations
One way to determine health care value is to look at variation in the cost of care across geographic regions. According to an analysis by the International Federation of Health Plans, hospital and caregiver payments for maternity care in the U.S. significantly exceed those of all other industrialized countries. Similar differences were observed for nearly all standard procedures measured in the analysis, suggesting that healthcare value in the United States is lowest among industrialized countries. Childbirth Connection has republished the maternity care payment data from the report, with permission from IFHP.

Cause for Optimism: Maternity Care Moving in the Right Direction

Media get savvy about maternity care issues

In recent months, we've noticed an increase in the number of media outlets covering maternity care issues and in the quality of the reporting, with both mass media and new media moving in the right direction. In mass media, the investigative reporting organization, California Watch has provided exemplary leadership, most recently by putting a human face on the harms of early elective delivery. This report follows two others covering the maternal mortality crisis and exposing variation in cesarean rates across hospitals. Stories from this series were picked up by media outlets across California and nation-wide, including the San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, and ABC News.

Several health care blogs have also covered maternity care issues recently, focusing on economic arguments for payment reform. TMC Project Director, Amy Romano, offered a round-up of these recent posts on The Health Care Blog

Most recent page update: 12/12/2011

© 2016 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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