KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Across The Nation, C-Section Rates Show Wide Variation

C-sections, a very common operating room procedure, can boost the cost of delivery from about $9,000 for a vaginal birth to $13,000.  

Medpage Today: C-Section Rates Vary Widely
C-section is the most common procedure done in the operating room, and boosted the cost of delivery to an average of almost $13,000 compared with $9,000 for vaginal births ... based on a prior study of private health insurance payments. Both overuse and underuse of cesarean delivery may be clinically harmful as well, with higher risk of infection, injury, and need for emergency hysterectomy for the mother and greater risk of asphyxia, respiratory distress, and other pulmonary disorders for the baby compared with vaginal birth. The group analyzed inpatient claims data from the 593 hospitals with at least 100 deliveries included in the 2009 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which covers about 20 percent of all U.S. centers (Phend, 3/4).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: C-Section Delivery Rates Vary Widely Across Nation
The study, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the overall rates of C-sections — the most common type of surgery in the U.S. — varied from about 7 to 70 percent across the nation's hospitals (Tran, 3/4).

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