Access to obstetric care in rural North Carolina has dwindled
More than a third of North Carolina's rural hospitals don't offer maternity care, as challenging economics and labor shortages force more rural facilities to stop providing labor and delivery services.
- High-quality maternity care requires having 24/7 physician and nurse staffing, and that's expensive for rural hospitals to continue providing, as they are losing money on other types of patient care, the report explains.
It takes patients in rural parts of North Carolina a median of 32 minutes to get to a hospital that provides obstetric care, according to a new report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.
- Minutes matter in labor and delivery: Mothers and babies in communities without obstetric care have a higher risk of death and complications, and they're less likely to obtain adequate prenatal care and postpartum care, according to the report.
Zoom out: More than half of rural hospitals in the country (55%) don't have obstetric services, as more than 200 U.S. rural hospitals have stopped delivering babies in the past decade.
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