A gathering of the nation's leading maternal-child and quality assurance health care experts will review and develop programs that may help lower the nation's costly preterm birth rate.
Attendees will review existing programs ... that successfully lower cesarean section and induction rates and improve care and services for pregnant women and babies. Some of the highlighted programs will be:
* Intermountain Health Program ... reduced its elective c-sections to less than 5 percent from more than 30 percent.
* Hospital Corporation of America ... implemented an integrated quality improvement program ... and reduced the primary c-section rate, lowered maternal and fetal injuries and reduced the cost of obstetric malpractice claims 500 percent.
* Geisinger Health System ... developed an electronic health record to ensure pregnant women are screened for chronic conditions and risk factors that can be treated proactively, lowering the risk of preterm birth and other complications.
Preterm birth is a serious and costly health problem, and is the leading cause of death in the first month of life in this country ... the rate has increased more than 20 percent in nearly 20 years. Babies who survive an early birth face serious risks of lifelong health problems, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss ... RDS, feeding difficulties, temperature instability, jaundice ...