Congress probes 15 largest health systems on childbirth safety

Congressional committee leaders sent letters to the operators of hundreds of U.S. maternity hospitals, requesting answers about maternal deaths, childbirth injuries and what steps they're taking to curb them, according to USA Today.

Expressing concern about the rising rate of maternal deaths, the committee sent the letters to 15 of the largest U.S. hospital systems, asking them to give its investigators copies of their childbirth safety protocols and data on maternal deaths and injuries.

The systems operate over 900 hospitals and together delivered more than one in five babies in 2015. Hospitals have until Nov. 15 to respond, according to the letters.

These 15 health systems are receiving the committee's letters because they were the country's largest, based on patient revenue in 2015: 

1. Adventist Health System (Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
2. Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill.)
3. Ascension Healthcare (St. Louis)
4. Catholic Health Initiatives (Englewood, Colo.)
5. Cleveland Clinic
6. Community Health Systems (Franklin, Tenn.)
7. Dignity Health (San Francisco)
8. HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.)
9. Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.)
10. Providence St. Joseph Health (Renton, Wash.)
11. Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.)
12. Tenet Healthcare (Dallas)
13. Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.)
14. Universal Health Services (King of Prussia, Pa.)
15. UPMC (Pittsburgh)

The committee is asking hospitals to describe the strategies they use to identify women at risk of childbirth complications, how they track and review pregnancy-related deaths and if they participate in programs to improve childbirth safety practices.

It also asks systems to disclose how many babies their birthing hospitals delivered in 2017 and the number, racial demographics and causes of pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal harms for that year.

The action comes after a July USA Today investigation revealed thousands of women experience life-altering injuries or die from childbirth every year because hospitals and medical workers skip lifesaving safety practices.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Global C-section rate nearly doubles since 2000, study finds
Flu shot cuts pregnant women's hospitalization risk by 40%, study finds
Hospital-acquired conditions dropped 21% from 2010-15

Adventist Health System (Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill.)
Ascension Healthcare (St. Louis)
Catholic Health Initiatives (Englewood, Colo.)
Cleveland Clinic
Community Health Systems (Franklin, Tenn.)
Dignity Health (San Francisco) 
HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.)
Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.)
Providence St. Joseph Health (Renton, Wash.)
Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.)
Tenet Healthcare (Dallas)
Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.)
Universal Health Services (King of Prussia, Pa.) 
UPMC (Pittsburgh)

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