This fall, U.S. News & World Report plans to debut Best Hospitals for Maternity, using data recently submitted by hospitals via a nationwide survey. In April 2021, U.S. News began collecting data from hospitals nationwide for this inaugural edition of Best Hospitals for Maternity.
U.S. News’ goal in launching Best Hospitals for Maternity is to help expectant mothers and families make informed choices about hospitals where they might have a baby following an uncomplicated pregnancy. Different women have different preferences and needs in childbirth, so it’s important they make their decisions in consultation with a trusted medical professional.
Best Hospitals for Maternity required 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.
The Best Hospitals for Maternity will be determined by a U.S. News analysis of the submitted data and other objective data. Expert opinion is not used in determining the Best Hospitals for Maternity.
Four hospital-submitted measures will be required for Best Hospitals for Maternity. These include three performance measures: (1) Cesarean birth rate in low-risk women; (2) rate of exclusive breast milk feeding; and (3) unexpected complications rate in term newborns. Many hospitals that offer labor and delivery care already track these measures as part of their accreditation requirements, and the nation’s largest hospital-accrediting agency, The Joint Commission, now publicly reports all three of these measures via its Quality Check website. (4) The fourth measure is a yes-or-no indicator: Hospitals must attest to whether they support vaginal birth after Cesarean, or VBAC, which is an option that’s important to some pregnant women.
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.