Require Hospitals to Publish Data on Pregnancy Outcomes

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Since January, New York has lost at least three Black mothers due to childbirth related deaths: in July, Sha-Asia Washington died during a Cesarean birth at Woodhull Hospital; in April, Amber Rose Isaac died during a Cesarean birth at Montefiore Medical Center; and in March, Cordielle Street died a week after she gave birth due to complications. Their deaths are the direct result of racism that has led to a Black maternal mortality crisis in New York and the United States, as a whole: Black women, nationally, are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy and birth related complications--in New York, this number is closer to twelve times--and 50% more likely to suffer severe pregnancy and birth complications than white women

In 2016, New York State Law § 2803-J Information for Maternity Patients was passed, mandating that New York hospitals annually publish their data on birth related events and procedures such as number of vaginal or Cesarean births, use of forceps or vacuum, inductions, vaginal births after prior Cesareans, and other vital statistics. In light of the ongoing Black maternal mortality crisis, we insist this law be expanded to include reporting on maternal deaths, before, during and up to six weeks after childbirth; third trimester fetal losses and stillbirths; hemorrhage; and injuries related to childbirth including damage to tissue and organs during Cesarean birth, third and fourth degree tearing; with a racial break down on all data points.

In low income, predominantly Black or Hispanic neighborhoods physical proximity to a hospital is often a major deciding factor of where to receive prenatal and labor care. Recent studies show that the hospital at which pregnant people receive care is a primary determinant of Cesarean rates, morbidity and mortality. In absence of published hospital data regarding pregnancy outcomes, pregnant people and particularly Black women in New York State, cannot make informed decisions about where to receive their care or whether their local hospital is a safe place for them to birth their babies.

Transparency in racial disparities of pregnancy and birth outcomes is an essential step in ensuring better outcomes for all pregnant New Yorkers. New York’s hospitals have been allowed to operate with impunity after deaths, loss or injury occur for too long. Requiring hospitals to publish maternal, fetal and infant morbidity and mortality data is essential in holding these institutions accountable for preventable injuries and deaths and improving pregnancy outcomes for patients.

We implore you to amend New York State Law § 2803-J Information for Maternity Patients to include statistics and racial data on maternal deaths, third trimester fetal losses and stillbirths, and birth related injuries. This information is critical in the fight against New York’s maternal mortality crisis and vast racial disparities in maternal health.