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Cost of Childbirth Varies Widely Across United States

hospital costs for childbirth vary across countryA recent study conducted by members of the Yale School of Medicine analyzed the data surrounding the costs of low risk childbirth at facilities across the United States. An article on CBS News highlights the disparity in childbirth prices across the nation and found that the costs can vary widely; from as low as $1,200 to upwards of $12,000. The study looked at roughly 275,000 low-risk childbirths that were conducted at a total of 463 hospitals across the nation.

Hospital admissions for childbirth account for roughly four million hospital admissions each year and are the most common cause for being admitted to a hospital. While one might think that such a common procedure ought to be standardized in both care practices and price, the latter was found to be largely disparate from hospital to hospital.

In attempting to understand the cause of the wide variation in childbirth costs, the study identified a number of key contributing factors. The complexity of the actual birth is, of course, a key concern. However, low volumes of births, variations in Medicare coverage, non-federal government or non-profit hospital ownership, longer average stays, and the location of the facilities also played significant roles.

Strangely enough, higher procedural costs did not necessarily correlate to better quality care, according to the research. Institutions with higher estimated costs were actually tied to higher rates of maternal death as well as higher rates of cesarean delivery.
The true drivers of cost variation are still left to be discovered, considering that the studied factors contributed to only thirteen percent of the total observed variation. The study’s lead investigator hinted that a possible factor that was left un-studied during this effort was the various practices in place at a given hospital and the different procedural methods available for the handling of deliveries.

Childbirth is a complicated and sensitive event despite the large number of births each year in U.S. facilities. If you or a loved one suffered a loss or an injury related to childbirth, contact a Lopez McHugh birth injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. The initial consultation is confidential and free of charge.