UC Irvine Medical Center only area hospital to fully meet national standards for maternity care

Leapfrog Group report assesses hospitals on key quality measures

May 05, 2016
UC Irvine Medical Center sign

UC Irvine Medical Center is Orange County’s only hospital, and one of a handful in Southern California, to fully meet national maternity quality care standards in the latest hospital quality report released today by The Leapfrog Group.

The report examines hospital adherence to national standards in key measures of maternity care, including early elective deliveries, Cesarean sections, episiotomy rates and high-risk births as well as screening newborns for jaundice and taking steps to prevent blood cots in mothers that undergo C-sections.

"We believe families deserve to know how hospitals are doing, so they can make good decisions on where to give birth, and avoid unnecessary risks and expense to the mother and the baby," said Leah Binder, president and CEO, The Leapfrog Group.

Leapfrog concluded there is substantial evidence that US hospitals overuse medical interventions, exposing mothers and babies to unnecessary health risks from C-sections, episiotomies, and early elective deliveries. 

The report’s key findings include:

  • At the majority of hospitals (68 percent), the episiotomy rate was too high.
  • Many hospitals don't have adequate experience with high-risk deliveries.
  • Variation in C-section rates is dramatic, ranging from a low as 10 percent to as high as 54 percent.
  • Early elective deliveries continue to decline across the US. The current nationwide average rate is 2.8 percent, down from 17 percent in 2010.

“Avoiding unnecessary procedures is a key to keeping mothers and their newborns safe,” said Dr. Robert E. Bristow, chair of the UCI Health Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “The entire UCI Health perinatal care team has long been committed to applying these national quality standards to each patient.”

The Leapfrog Group report cites the following 2015 measures at UC Irvine Medical Center (the lower rate is better for all measures except volume of high risk deliveries):

  • Early elective deliveries – 0.9 percent / Leapfrog target: 5 percent
  • C-sections – 22.7 percent / Leapfrog target: 23.9 percent
  • Episiotomy rate – 3.3 percent / Leapfrog target: 5 percent
  • Maternity care processes – Better than target
  • High-risk births – 90 deliveries / Leapfrog standard: greater than 50 deliveries

Definitions of these measures may be found in The Leapfrog Group report: http://www.leapfroggroup.org/sites/default/files/Files/Castlight-Leapfrog%20Maternity%20Report_Final.pdf

To compare hospitals, go to http://www.leapfroggroup.org/compare-hospitals and select the “Maternity Care” tab after entering your search terms.

UCI Health provides the only combined high-risk perinatal and regional/level III  neonatal program in Orange County, which means we are fully equipped with the technology and specialists to manage high-risk pregnancies and at-risk fetuses.

As a university medical center with a strong focus on research, UC Irvine is committed to offering patients the latest technologies, tests and treatments. A key to sustaining excellence in maternity care quality is the unique collaboration between perinatal experts in the UCI Health Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the UC Irvine Medical Center’s hospitalist program. This coordination assures that every expectant mother, whether her pregnancy is low- or high-risk, receives the benefit of the latest knowledge in obstetrics.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.