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Complications & Common Chronic Conditions Increase Hospitals’ Childbirth Costs by at Least 20 Percent

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U.S. hospitals could save upwards of 20 percent in costs for complicated childbirths, according to an analysis by Premier Inc. The increased costs associated with childbirth are in part due to potentially preventable complications and pre-existing chronic conditions.

In aggregate, complications, including severe maternal morbidity (SMM) factors and chronic conditions, add on average 20 percent to the cost to hospitals to perform a vaginal delivery and 25 percent to the cost to perform a cesarean delivery.

Premier’s analysis examined the cost to hospitals to provide labor and delivery care for women from 2008 through 2018, and specifically how the cost to hospitals varied by complication for 2.7 million maternal patients from 2015-2018. The cost to provide childbirth care for women who experienced complications or had pre-existing chronic conditions was compared to hospitals’ average base cost for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery (about $5,700) and cesarean delivery (about $8,500), per Premier’s analysis.

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