At nearly 4 million deliveries each year, birth is one of the most common reasons women are hospitalized in the United States.1 Costs for US maternity care are among the most expensive in the world. A comparison by the International Federation of Health Plans, which represents 80 health insurance companies in 25 countries, found that payments for vaginal deliveries in the United States ($17 354) were substantially greater than those of the next highest ranked country (Switzerland, $8307).2 In addition, despite a greater cost for delivery in comparison with most other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, the US cesarean delivery rate is higher,3 without better birth outcomes. Worldwide, the United States ranks 48th in maternal mortality4 and 57th in infant mortality.4
Woo VG, Milstein A, Platchek T. Hospital-Affiliated Outpatient Birth Centers: A Possible Model for Helping to Achieve the Triple Aim in Obstetrics. JAMA. 2016;316(14):1441–1442. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.11770
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