According to the WSJ research, the closure of the maternal units might worsen baby health and raise maternal death rates, both of which have already reached record highs, making the United States “the most dangerous place among high-income countries to give birth.”
Closure of the Maternal Unit in the United States
Many people in rural towns may have to travel up to 45 minutes for care since the closure of maternal units and also reportedly declining in hospitals due to a lack of staff and low birth rates. Low birth rates and staffing have made hospitals with few births “less attractive to doctors and nurses.”
According to the March of Dimes’ “Maternity Care Deserts Report” for 2022, up to 500,000 births and nearly 6.9 million pregnancies are affected in areas of the country where there is no access to maternity units, and this number has increased by 5% in counties where access has been cut since 2020. There are around 2.2 million mothers and up to 150,000 babies who are affected by the closure of the maternal units.
It’s a catastrophe. Women are finding it difficult to get the care they need before, during and after their pregnancies. As a result, the number of maternal and baby fatalities has increased because of the closure of the maternal units.
Solution for the Closure of the Maternal Unit in the US
The first approach for the closure of the maternal unit, according to Ms. McGregor, is to enact rules that prevent maternity units from closing as frequently as they do and as disproportionately in places with vulnerable populations. “We require a payment mechanism that raises Medicaid payment levels. Hospitals should not be encouraged to avoid areas with high shares of Medicaid-insured patients since Medicaid shouldn’t be paying at rates that are significantly lower than other payers. The federal government should motivate states to raise those standards.