For Immediate Release
January 19, 2018
Media Contact: Joy Alexiou
408-885-4164 or 408-595-2936
Santa Clara County, CA – For the second year in a row, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center was recognized for meeting or surpassing a federal target aimed at reducing Cesarean births (C-sections) for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies. The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) announced the achievement awards to hospitals on behalf of Smart Care California, a coalition of public and private health care purchasers that purchase or manage care for more than 16 million people statewide – or 40 percent of all Californians. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is one of the largest birth hospitals in California on the Smart Care CA list.
“Our ability to reduce Cesarean births with first-time, low-risk mothers will lead to healthier babies and mothers,” said Phuong Nguyen, M.D. and interim Chief Medical Officer, SCVMC. “We continue to achieve these low rates thanks to our staff and their dedication to providing the best care to new moms and babies.”
While life-saving in some circumstances, unnecessary C-sections can pose serious risks to mothers—higher rates of hemorrhage, transfusions, infection and blood clots—and to babies—higher rates of infection, respiratory complications and neonatal intensive care unit stays.
To respond to a rapid rise in unnecessary C-sections across the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low- risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. In October 2015, Smart Care California began its focus on this issue as well.
Evidence suggests that a woman’s chance of having a C-section largely depends on where she delivers and the practice pattern of her physician and clinical team. Even for low-risk, first-birth pregnancies, huge variation exists in hospital C-section rates. Rates in California hospitals range from less than 15 percent to more than 60 percent. Experts find that variation of this magnitude is a signal of a problem that needs to be addressed.