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Lenox Hill Hospital Participating in New Program to Stop Non-Medically Necessary Elective Deliveries

December 18, 2012

A new initiative is encouraging hospitals across New York State to stop non-medically necessary Cesarean sections and inductions prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy with the goal of helping New York families have full-term, healthy newborns.

Lenox Hill Hospital has joined The New York State Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG District II) UnitedHealthcare and the March of Dimes on a new initiative aimed to encourage hospitals in New York State to stop non-medically necessary Cesarean sections and inductions prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy.

"Lenox Hill Hospital will not induce labor or schedule C-sections prior to 39 weeks where no medical need is indicated," said Michael Divon, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynocology at Lenox Hill Hospital. "Our goal is reduce risks associated with deliveries performed before 39 weeks of gestation and deliver stronger and healthier babies."

Non-medically indicated obstetrical procedures, such as elective inductions performed prior to 39 weeks, have risen sharply in the United States over the past 20 years, with associated increases in C-sections and late preterm births, according to ACOG. The reported rate of labor induction in the United States has more than doubled since 1990, from 9.5 percent to 22.5 percent in 2006. In New York State, even though the preterm birth rate has been improving, the 2011 rate was 12.2 percent earning it a "C" on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.

Preterm birth, before 37 weeks completed gestation, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26-billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. A nationwide study published in the January 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine found that from 1999 to 2002, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions were 5.9 percent at 39 weeks gestation, and rose to 8.1 percent at 38 weeks and 12.8 percent at 37 weeks.

Lenox Hill Hospital

Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital with a national reputation for providing the highest quality care, training new physicians and contributing to progress in research. Recognized nationally as a leader in cardiac care, orthopedics and maternal/child health, the Hospital also offers a wide range of services in radiology, and medical and surgical specialties. Lenox Hill Hospital was ranked #12 in New York State and #14 in the New York Metro area by US News & World Report and received a total of 11 "high performing" designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Otolaryngology, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.