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The Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) are pleased to announce significant progress in bringing down Indiana’s early elective delivery rate for expectant mothers. Since 2010, IHA, ISDH and the Indiana Perinatal Network have collaborated on efforts to reduce the number of deliveries prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy without a valid medical reason. Through quality improvement initiatives, Indiana hospitals have been successful in reducing early elective deliveries before 39 weeks to a rate of less than three percent, compared to 11 percent in 2012.

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“This significant reduction in Indiana’s early elective delivery rate shows that hospitals have made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life for both mothers and their newborns,” said Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association.

Groups such as the March of Dimes, the Indiana Perinatal Network and the Indiana Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning advise against early elective deliveries without medical reason prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy to prevent complications at birth for both the mother and the infant.

“We’ve seen improved health outcomes in Indiana with hospitals adopting hard-stop policies. Last year, 429 dangerous early elective deliveries were avoided,” said Leonard. “Hospitals that have implemented a hard-stop policy have virtually eliminated early elective deliveries.”

In January 2013, the Indiana State Department of Health formed the Indiana Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, co-chaired by Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess, ll and IHA President Doug Leonard to address ongoing issues related to perinatal care. The Indiana Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative continues to recommend a hard-stop policy to ensure procedures are in place among hospitals across the state.

“Not only are we headed in the right direction, but we are very near the goal line,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, ll, M.D. “Reducing early elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy has been a priority for the Indiana Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, and we are pleased to see such positive momentum for health care in Indiana.”