Leapfrog uses the definition of an early elective delivery as performing elective inductions or cesarean procedures prior to 39 completed weeks' gestation without medical necessity.
Leapfrog noted that dramatic improvement has come in states where stakeholders are pushing for fewer early elective deliveries, such as Illinois and South Carolina. “It's encouraging to see such swift progress as communities and stakeholders rally together, but our fight is far from finished,” said Leah Binder, Leapfrog president and CEO, in the release. Wide variation in rates still exists, with some hospitals reporting rates greater than 40%, according to Leapfrog.
The industry and regulators have been targeting reduced early elective deliveries as a way to improve quality and reduce costs. HHS last year announced it would award $40 million to test approaches that can help reduce the rising number of pre-term births in the U.S., including early elective deliveries.
(This article has been updated to correct the initial year of the study.)