New Jersey will issue hospital maternity care report card to curb unneeded C-sections

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Aug. 10 to create a hospital report card designed to provide patients with more insight into maternity care quality, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The report card is anticipated to consider a hospital's number of cesarean deliveries and the rate of complications.

The state Department of Health will develop the New Jersey Report Card of Hospital Maternity Care, which will be on its website and updated each year.

New Jersey consumer advocates have been urging the state to improve hospitals' maternity care, in part by curbing unneeded C-sections. 

Over a third of births were C-sections in 2016 across New Jersey, trailing only Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, and well above the federal government's target rate of 23 percent, according to the CDC.

Women who have unnecessary C-sections are exposed to increased risks of hemorrhage, infection, uterine rupture and cardiac events and are more likely to have C-sections in subsequent births.  

A recent USA Today investigation documented how the U.S. is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to give birth, and New Jersey fares especially poorly. It ranks 47th among the 50 states in maternal death, according to America's Health Rankings, a report by the United Health Foundation. 

State hospitals have been working to tackle these potentially dangerous procedures, with each of New Jersey's 49 hospitals that delivers babies getting involved in an initiative to cut unnecessary C-sections.

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