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C-Section Rates Extremely High In Florida


Florida hospitals continue to have some of the highest Caesarean delivery rates in the country, according to a new analysis out from Consumer Reports.

“People might find differences in nearby hospitals, so they really have to look at a map and at the rates and see what stories the numbers are telling,” said Doris Peter, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

The federal government has a set a goal of lowering the national C-section rate to 23.9 percent. Higher rates indicate there are probably women undergoing surgeries that aren’t necessary. The researchers found that one Florida hospital, Hialeah Hospital in South Florida, had a C-section rate of 68 percent.

The review of C-section rates is available for free at the Consumer Reports website. While much of Consumer Reports’ content is behind a paywall, Peter says the organization decided to make this study publicly available because it’s a safety issue.

“We really want to have more of an impact in the marketplace,” said Peter. “We wanted to further the improvement that could happen through this transparency effort.”

From the article:

The most common surgery performed in U.S. hospitals isn’t on the heart or back or hips or knees. It’s a C-section. Roughly one of every three babies born in this country, or about 1.3 million children each year, are delivered through a surgical incision.

While a number of factors can increase the chance of having a C-section —being older or heavier or having diabetes, for example—the biggest risk “may simply be which hospital a mother walks into to deliver her baby,” says Neel Shah, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School, who has studied C-section rates in this country and around the world.

You can read the report and find the rest of the rankings at the Consumer Reports website.

And here’s a sample of what the rates look like in South Florida:

Credit Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports looked at c-section rates nationwide. Florida hospitals had much higher rates than the federal targets.

Public radio. Public health. Public policy.