(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Monday released legislation Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to require hospitals to report information on births and procedures performed and compiled into a report card on maternity care for expecting families.
"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," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "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."
One hospital in New Jersey made the Consumer Reports' national list in June 2016 naming "11 Hospitals to Avoid if You Don't Want a C-Section Birth" due to its high rates of C-sections.
The bill (A-2262) requires the Commissioner of Health to gather and compile information necessary to develop a New Jersey Report Card on Maternity Care. The report card is to be designed to inform members of the public about maternity care provided by each general hospital licensed under current law, and would be made available on the website of the Department of Health and updated annually.
For each hospital, the report card is to include the number of vaginal deliveries performed, the number of cesarean deliveries performed, and the rates of certain complications based on the type of delivery.
"This critical information, once compiled, will be crucial to expecting moms and families," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "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."
The bill also directs the commissioner to revise or add factors to be included in the report card based on maternal quality indicators as may be recommended by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The measure was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee and will now go the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.