In the last 15 years, California has seen worrisome increases in death rates for mothers in childbirth and in the percentage of babies delivered by cesarean section. Cesarean deliveries have jumped 50% over the last decade, despite the lack of evidence that this form of delivery is better than natural childbirth for most mothers and babies. In fact, c-sections now account for one-third of the state’s more than 500,000 births each year, increasing risks of infections and complications and driving medical costs higher. Because Medi-Cal covers half of all births in the state, this has increased costs for taxpayers without improving the health of mothers and babies.
CHCF hosted a Sacramento briefing to explore the state of maternity care in California and key ways it can be improved. Experts discussed how raising the quality of maternity care is essential to advancing Californians’ health, enhancing patient experiences, and helping to put the Medi-Cal safety net on sound financial footing.
Sandra Hernández, MD, president and CEO, California Health Care Foundation
Neal Kohatsu, MD, medical director, California Department of Health Care Services, which operates the Medi-Cal program
David Lagrew, MD, practicing obstetrician/gynecologist and chief of medical informatics, MemorialCare Health System
Elliott Main, MD, medical director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and its California Maternity Data Center
Linda V. Walsh, CNM, MPH, PhD, FACNM, professor emeritus, University of San Francisco, School of Nursing; president elect, California Nurse Midwife Association
Dolores Yanagihara, MPH, vice president of performance measurement for the Integrated HealthCare Association
The recording of the webinar, the presentation slides, and other related materials are available below.