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Dramatic Decline in Dangerous Early Elective Deliveries

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The national rate

of maternal early elective deliveries dropped for the third year in a

row, with the national average for the first time hitting the target

rate of less than five percent, announced nonprofit hospital quality

watchdog The Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog). Leah Binder, president and CEO

of Leapfrog, will release the new data at the Catalyst for Payment

Reform's National Summit on Maternity Care on March 3rd.

"This is one of the most extraordinary examples of progress in health

care that I've seen in my career," said Binder. "It shows that public

reporting can galvanize change, and that saves lives."

Early elective deliveries - inductions or cesarean

(C-section) procedures performed prior to 39 completed weeks gestation

without medical necessity - carry risks to babies and mothers. They

can also result in NICU admissions, increased length of stay, and

higher costs to patients and payers. The American College of

Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has advised against these

deliveries for more than 30 years.

The results from the group's 2013 Leapfrog Hospital Survey show a

sharp decline in early elective deliveries since Leapfrog became the

first to publicly report on this vital maternity care measure four

years ago. The national average of 4.6 percent in 2013 stands in sharp

contrast to the national average of 17 percent in 2010.

Year-over-year, the results have also been impressive, with the rate

of early elective deliveries cut in half from 2012 alone (11.2

percent). In 2013, 71 percent of the reporting hospitals met

Leapfrog's early elective deliveries target rate of less than five

percent, compared to 46 percent of hospitals in the 2012

survey. Leapfrog is also reporting a spike in its survey

participation, with 969 hospitals reporting on early elective

deliveries in 2013, up 200 hospitals from last year.

Leapfrog was the first to publicly report rates of early elective

deliveries by hospital. That public reporting accelerated longstanding

efforts by a network of organizations working to eliminate unnecessary

deliveries, including the Catalyst for Payment Reform, the National

Business Group on Health and the March of Dimes. At the Centers for

Medicare & Medicaid Services, both the Partnership for Patients

Program and the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative

identified early elective deliveries as a top priority issue early in

2012, and have both aligned their resources to achieving these


The 2013 data reveals that the vast majority of states are now

reporting early elective delivery average rates of less than 10

percent, with standouts like California, Colorado, Maine and

Massachusetts boasting rates at three percent or lower. Binder

highlights dramatic improvements from states like South Carolina where

quality improvement actions and payment reform penalties by government

and private sector stakeholders are effectively discouraging the

practice of early elective deliveries. Despite nationwide and

statewide successes, she notes widespread variation still exists.

"Some hospitals are still reporting early elective delivery rates

higher than 20 and 30 percent, which means there is still work to be

done," added Binder.

A leader in maternity care data, Leapfrog this year begins collecting

data on cesarean section rates for hospitals reporting at least 50

births annually. Hospital rates of nulliparous term singleton vertex

(NTSV) cesarean section delivery will be publicly reported on the

Leapfrog Hospital Survey Results website ( in


"Just as we've seen early elective delivery rates drop after Leapfrog

began publicly reporting them, we hope to spur national efforts to

bring down the rate of C-sections," says Binder.

Rates of early elective deliveries by hospital, as well as statewide

averages, are publicly available on

To live stream Leah Binder's announcement at the Catalyst for Payment

Reform's National Summit on Maternity Care on March 3rd at 11 a.m. ET,

register at:

About The Leapfrog Group The Leapfrog Group ( is

a national nonprofit organization using the collective leverage of

large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements

in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for

Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to

structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest

performing hospitals, and the Hospital Safety Score

( publishes letter grades rating hospitals

on how safe they are for patients. The Leapfrog Group was founded in

November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national

funders and is now independently operated with support from its

purchaser and other members.

CONTACT: Erica Mobley

The Leapfrog Group


Lauren Bercarich

Stern + Associates (on behalf of

The Leapfrog Group)

908-276-4344, x202

SOURCE The Leapfrog Group

-0- 03/03/2014

/Web Site:

CO: The Leapfrog Group; Catalyst for Payment Reform's National Summit on Maternity Care

ST: District of Columbia




-- NY74844 --

0000 03/03/2014 12:47:00 EDT

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