Feb 15, 2024 - Health

75% of Louisiana's rural hospitals don't have maternity care

Share of rural hospitals without labor and delivery services
Data: Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform; Note: Rural hospitals are those not located within a metropolitan area defined by the U.S. OMB and Census Bureau; Map: Axios Visuals

Three-quarters of Louisiana's rural hospitals don't offer labor and delivery services, according to a new report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

Why it matters: Louisiana has one of the country's highest maternal mortality rates, according to the CDC.

  • Access to maternity care is essential to preventing poor health outcomes and eliminating health disparities.

The big picture: Hospitals have been increasingly scaling back or cutting maternity services for financial reasons — while demand for obstetrics care rises as more states ban abortion.

By the numbers: Florida had the highest percentage (86%) of rural hospitals without labor and delivery services, followed by North Dakota (79%) and then Louisiana (75%).

  • The national average is 55%.

Zoom in: 26.6% of parishes are defined as maternity care deserts, according to a 2023 report from the March of Dimes. That means there is no access to birthing facilities or maternity care providers.

  • In Louisiana, 12.1% of women had no birthing option within 30 minutes compared with 9.7% nationally.

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