(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Raj Mukherji and Daniel Benson to help families make better decisions on which hospital to have their baby was recently signed into law by the Governor.
Earlier this year, a national nonprofit patient advocacy group released a 2018 Maternity Care Report discussing the highlights and some of the concerns of maternity care throughout the country. New Jersey was found to have high rates of obstetrical complications, including a higher than average percentage of caesareans performed. United States has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality of any developed country.
“There could be many reasons for the high rate of birth complications with pregnancy. It could be that a family does not have adequate healthcare or that they do have healthcare but does not have sufficient enough information on hospitals in the state to make the best decision for their families,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This law will help to provide information. A Hospital Maternity Care annual report card will help families make more informed decisions when choosing the best possible maternity care for their baby.”
The new law (formerly bill A-2366) requires the Department of Health to compile the information necessary to develop an annual report card of Hospital Maternity Care. The report card will be designed to inform members of the public about maternity care provided by each general hospital licensed and made available on the website of the Department of Health, update annually.
“We want families to be able to choose a hospital that will best suit their maternity care needs,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “The needs of every family and child are not the same. Unfortunately, not every hospital can provide the same level of care. Families should be able to have access to relevant hospital information when making their decision.”
“New parents have many things to consider when having a baby. Whether they have chosen the right hospital for maternity care should never be one of them,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “The rate of pregnancy complications and the rate of care the hospital can provide are vital to know when looking at maternity care.” .
The report card will include
The number of cesarean deliveries performed and
The rate of complications experienced by a patient receiving maternity care:
For a vaginal delivery, which would include the rate of maternal hemorrhage, laceration, infection, or other complication as prescribed by the Commissioner of Health; and
For a cesarean delivery, which would include the rate of maternal hemorrhage, infection, operative complication, or other complication as prescribed by the Commissioner of Health.
Under the new law, the commissioner may revise or add complications or other factors to be included in the report card based on maternal quality indicators as may be recommended by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In March 2017, New Jersey was tied for the fifth in the number of states with the highest rates of obstetrical complications.
The bill passed the Assembly in June, 72-0.