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Black and Hispanic Women More Likely to Deliver in Hospitals With High Complication Rates, Study Finds

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A study investigating racial and ethnic differences in unexpected, term newborn morbidity and the influence of hospital quality on disparities, found Black and Hispanic women were more likely to deliver in hospitals with high complication rates than were White or Asian American women. These findings implicate hospital quality in contributing to preventable newborn health disparities among low-risk, term births. Quality improvement targeting routine obstetric and neonatal care is critical for equity in perinatal outcomes.

The study used 2010–2014 birth certificate and discharge abstract data from 40 New York City hospitals in a retrospective cohort study of 483,834 low-risk neonates. Morbidity was classified according to The Joint Commission’s unexpected newborn complications metric.  The unexpected complications rate was 48.0 per 1000 births. Adjusted for patient characteristics, morbidity risk was higher among Black and Hispanic infants compared with white infants.

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