Virginia Ranks First in Reducing Early Elective Deliveries

In late 2012, VHHA partnered with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the March of Dimes to begin a program to significantly reduce early elective deliveries (EED). At the time, delaying elective births until after 39 weeks of gestation was known to improve birthing outcomes. However, the practice was not uniformly implemented across the state. Then, 8 percent of births were early elective deliveries – the national goal was 4 percent. Working within a joint initiative, 53 hospitals agreed to seek ways to reduce early elective deliveries. The hospitals pledged to submit monthly tracking data on the total number of births at individual facilities, and the number of births occurring between 37-39 weeks. Since then, outcomes have improved. From 2013-2016, Virginia had a significant reduction in average monthly EEDs. Meanwhile, the national goal decreased to 2 percent. As 2016 concluded, Virginia’s EED rate was 1.3 percent. And in the fourth quarter of 2016, Hospital Compare ranked Virginia first among the 50 states and the District of Columbia on reducing early elective deliveries. (2/24)