University of Minnesota: Rural hospital administrators’ beliefs on offering obstetric care

EXCERPT: “Administrators of rural hospitals providing obstetric care in the United States reported needing at least 200 annual births for safety and financial viability, according to a study from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center published today in the journal JAMA Health Forum. The study also revealed that community maternity care needs strongly influenced hospital decisions to maintain obstetric services, even below that threshold. Access to high quality obstetric care is critical to ensuring optimal maternal and infant health outcomes. However, declining access to hospital-based obstetric care is a concern in rural communities in the U.S.. In a previous study from the Rural Health Research Center, from 2014 to 2018, 53 rural counties lost hospital-based obstetric services, continuing a decades-long decline in access. Rural obstetric unit closures are most common among low birth volume facilities located in remote areas. The consequences of losing obstetric services are concentrated in remote rural areas and include increases in preterm births, births occurring in emergency departments and out-of-hospital births.” FULL STORY: