The effectiveness of providing evidenced-based perinatal practice to low-income populations providing perinatal care: Does patient income influence the delivery of quality care?

Amy L. Damon, Carmen D. Parrotta, Lindsey A. Wallace, William Riley


Background: This study examines a national perinatal quality improvement collaborative designed to create high reliability through the use of evidence-based perinatal care bundles. The objective of this study is to determine whether hospitals serving low-income patient populations experienced lower compliance with perinatal care bundles than hospitals serving higher-income patient populations

Objective: We investigated the relationship between the rate of perinatal bundle compliance within a hospital and the economic characteristics of the patients and surrounding community. We hypothesized a negative relationship between poverty and care bundle compliance.

Methods: Using prospective data from 131,847 births over 34 months within 16 hospitals located in cities across the United States, we examined the relationship between compliance with evidence-based obstetrical care bundles and three measures of the poverty status of the patient population served and the hospital service area: 1) proportion of the obstetrical patients with Medicaid as the primary payer, 2) median income in the hospital service area, and 3) poverty rate in the hospital’s service area.

Results: The findings indicate no difference in bundle compliance rates in relation to the economic characteristics of the participating hospitals and their patients.

Conclusions: While previous research has indicated that patients of lower socioeconomic status are less likely to receive high quality care, the findings in this study indicate that hospital compliance with evidence-based perinatal care bundles did not differ by economic characteristics of the hospital service area. These results indicate uniformity of care across hospitals irrespective of patient economic characteristics.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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