On March 31, the eve of Cesarean Awareness Month, the National Health Policy Forum addressed the rising rate of cesarean section in the United States. The Forum is a non-partisan organization that offers educational programming and other health policy resources to congressional and federal agency staff.
Caesar’s Ghost: The Effect of the Rising Rate of C-Sections on Health Care Costs and Quality, explored the drivers and consequences of the increasing c-section rate and public- and private-sector initiatives to achieve a more optimal rate. Forum presenters included:
- Maureen Corry, who presented results of Childbirth Connection’s Cesarean Evidence Project and the Listening to Mothers surveys and shared recent national data on cesarean and VBAC rates, average hospital charges for cesarean and vaginal births, and cost comparisons across industrialized countries. Her presentation also reviewed progress on key recommendations from the TMC Blueprint for Action.
- Jeff Thompson, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the Washington State Medicaid Program, who presented about the state’s multiple strategies to reduce cesarean section. These include licensing and reimbursing fees for birth centers and Certified Professional Midwives and testing payment reforms to penalize early elective deliveries and incentivize VBAC.
- Andréa Caballero Dilweg, from Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), who shared purchaser strategies from CPR’s Payment Reform Toolkit and Maternity Care Special Initiative.
- Frank Mazza, MD, Chief Patient Safety Officer at Seton Healthcare Family in Austin, TX, who discussed Seton’s award-winning perinatal safety program that reduced birth injuries, instrumental vaginal deliveries, and NICU admissions without increasing the use of c-section.