Rural implications of expanded birth volume threshold for reporting Perinatal Care measures

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Background: In 2016 the minimum annual birth volume threshold for required reporting of the Joint Commission Perinatal Care measures by accredited hospitals decreased from 1,100 to 300 births. Methods: Publicly available Joint Commission Quality Check data from April 2014 to March 2015 for three Perinatal Care measures were linked to Medicare Provider of Services and American Hospital Association Annual Survey data. For each measure, hospital-level reporting and performance among accredited hospitals providing obstetric care were compared using Fisher's exact tests. Results: Sixty-seven percent of the 2,396 accredited hospitals with obstetric services reported at least one eligible patient for two of the four reported Perinatal Care measures: Elective delivery and exclusive breast milk feeding. Fewer hospitals (35.0%) had data on the antenatal steroids measure; many hospitals may not have any eligible patients for this measure. Hospitals with higher birth volume, those in urban counties, and those with private, nonprofit ownership or system affiliation were more likely to report the perinatal measures (p < 0.001). Across states, reporting rates varied considerably. By hospital volume, performance varied more on the antenatal steroids measure (78.0% to 91.5%) than on the breast milk feeding measure (48.4% to 49.5%) and the elective delivery measure (2.5% to 3.0%). Conclusions: Expansion of the minimum birth volume threshold nearly doubles the number of accredited hospitals required to report the Perinatal Care measures to The Joint Commission. However, 485 accredited hospitals with obstetric services that are either critical access hospitals or have fewer than 300 births annually are still exempt from reporting. Although many rural hospitals remain exempt from reporting requirements, the measures offer an opportunity for both rural and urban hospitals to assess and improve care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2016 The Joint Commission.


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