NJ hospital accused of luring foreign moms with false advertising

A newspaper's investigative team has accused Meadowlands Hospital and Medical Center in Secaucus, N.J., of using false advertising in its birth tourism program to solicit pregnant Russian women to give birth at the hospital, reports Star-Ledger.

The MHMC birth-tourism program, AmeriMama, promotes tour packages online that offer to coordinate medical services for Russian women to give birth at the hospital, enabling their children to qualify for dual citizenship. Birth tourism has become increasingly popular among middle and upper-class citizens in countries that face environmental, economic or political instabilities.

While the program is not illegal, investigators from NJ Spotlight have accused MHMC of falsely promoting its neonatal division as one of the best in the U.S. — a claim Spotlight called an arrogant manipulation of the truth. 

MHMC scored below national quality benchmarks for neonatal services in 2016, according to Leapfrog. This year, Leapfrog recommended hospitals' rates for episiotomy, C-section and early elective delivery services fall below 5 percent, 24 percent and 5 percent, respectively. MHMC had episiotomy rates of 30.9 percent, C-section rates of 41.3 percent and early elective delivery rates of 61.4 percent.

Leapfrog recommends hospitals only perform the aforementioned procedures when absolutely medically necessary, as they increase the chance for health complications.

NJ Spotlight's investigation has prompted Senate health committee chairman Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) and the New Jersey Hospital Association to look at hospital advertising protocols, according to the article.

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