Assembly bill focuses on N.J.'s high rate of C-sections

Anjalee Khemlani, NJBIZ

Maternity care in New Jersey is under increasing scrutiny with the latest Leapfrog Group score released last month.

Specifically, the use of cesarean sections to schedule births rather than deliver naturally is a dangerous practice, according to experts in the state.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) has sponsored a bill to require hospitals to report information on births and procedures performed and compiled into a report card on maternity care around the state.

“In March 2017, New Jersey was among the number of states with the highest rates for C-sections, with only Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia rated worse, according to a survey by the Leapfrog Group,” Vainieri Huttle said in a statement. “Hospital to hospital, the C-section rate can vary significantly. Families should have this information at hand when deciding which hospital is right for them.”

The bill calls for the Department of Health to lead the effort, with the commissioner charged with compiling the information for the report card and hosting the list on the DOH website. It also calls for a revision of the factors of maternal quality indicators that are recommended by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The list would include number of vaginal deliveries performed, the number of cesarean deliveries performed and the rates of certain complications based on the type of delivery, according to Vainieri Huttle.

“With this legislation, families will be able to use information on a hospital’s maternity care as part of their decision-making process when selecting the best hospital to suit their needs,” she said.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee and is headed to the Assembly speaker for further consideration.