UF Health Jacksonville has been recognized as one of only 20 hospitals in Florida to achieve the national Healthy People 2020 objective to reduce cesarean section deliveries for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies.
UF Health Jacksonville’s rate for these pregnancies was 23.7 percent in 2017, which was lower than the benchmark of 23.9 percent set by the Florida Award Program for Safely Reducing Primary C-Sections. State health officials have focused on reducing cesareans for first-time mothers, saying while they can be lifesaving in certain cases, they also pose serious health risks to mothers and babies.
“This is a great example of how our organization focuses on initiatives that help our patients and our community,” said Leon L. Haley, MD, MHSA, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “Specifically, our dedication to mothers-to-be and children is unparalleled. For example, UF Health Jacksonville has a robust Healthy Start program modeled by the state that provides women with the resources they need before and after giving birth. It’s a major success that has helped thousands of people.”
The Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health say once a woman has a cesarean, she has a greater chance of having a C-section for subsequent births, increasing her risk of major birth complications. For the baby, some of the consequences can include longer hospital stays in the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as higher rates of respiratory infection.
The mission of the state recognition program is to highlight the importance of this health care quality issue statewide and to recognize those hospitals that are contributing to providing quality health care for mothers and infants. Both AHCA and DOH have recognized that the high rate of low-risk cesarean births is a major maternal and child health issue in Florida, as the state has one of the highest rates in the nation.
UF Health Jacksonville was recognized for this achievement at the Florida Hospital Association’s Celebration of Achievement in Quality and Service Awards on October 4 in Orlando.