U.S. News began collecting data from hospitals nationwide for its inaugural edition of Best Hospitals for Maternity, which will be published in the fall of 2021. Best Hospitals for Maternity requires data collection directly from hospitals because data available from other sources, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, are insufficient on their own to evaluate the quality of maternal and neonatal care.
Any hospital that submits the required data by May 28, 2021, will be considered for potential recognition as one of the Best Hospitals for Maternity. The required data are four maternal care measures: (1) Cesarean birth rate in low-risk women; (2) rate of exclusive breast milk feeding; (3) unexpected complications rate in term newborns. (4) Hospitals must attest to whether they support vaginal birth after Cesarean, or VBAC, which is an option that’s important to some pregnant women (a yes-or-no indicator).
The Best Hospitals for Maternity will be determined by a U.S. News analysis of the submitted data and other objective data. Expert opinion will not be used in determining the Best Hospitals for Maternity. In addition to considering the four measures collected from each hospital, the U.S. News methodology for Best Hospitals for Maternity may use quality measures available from other sources, such as early elective delivery rate from the federal website Care Compare.
The Best Hospitals for Maternity will not be ranked numerically; that is, no hospital will be named No. 1 in maternity. U.S. News has not yet developed the methodological criteria it will use to determine the Best Hospitals for Maternity; those criteria will be developed in the coming months through stakeholder consultations and consideration of input, including input from mothers, women of childbearing age, medical professionals, leading professional associations, equity experts, and women’s health organizations. Details about the methodology will be made public — and hospitals will have an opportunity to provide feedback — prior to the publication of the Best Hospitals for Maternity.
Best Hospitals for Maternity will debut after the July release of the 2021-22 Best Hospitals Honor Roll and Best Regional Hospitals rankings. Therefore, maternity data will not be a factor in determining this year’s Best Hospitals rankings. However, it may be incorporated into the rankings in subsequent years.