Analysis: C-Sections More Common at For-Profit Hospitals in Calif.
Details of the Analysis
For the analysis, California Watch used birth record data compiled from 253 hospitals statewide between 2005 and 2007.
The analysis found that women giving birth at for-profit hospitals are at least 17% more likely to have c-sections than women at not-for-profit hospitals.
Difference in Revenue
Medical experts say it is unclear why some hospitals perform more c-sections than others. However, some observers say that for-profit hospitals might perform c-sections more frequently to bring in more revenue.
According to a 2007 analysisÂ from the Pacific Business Group on Health, California hospitals can increase their revenue by an average of 82% if they perform a c-section instead of a vaginal birth.
The PBGH report estimated that average hospital profits for vaginal births were $1,230, compared with $2,240 for an uncomplicated c-section.
Hospital Industry Response
Rick Black -- a representative for the for-profit hospital network Tenet Healthcare -- said the idea that hospitals pursue c-sections for financial reasons is "a wrong premise." He said physicians and patients work together to make decisions about birthing procedures, adding that hospitals do not exert direct influence (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12).
Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said hospitals do not make decisions about performing c-sections. He added, "That would be a breach of care and unethical. While there may be a pattern, it's not based on any policy. It's a doctor's decision" (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/11).
Headlines and links for related coverage on c-section rates in California hospitals are provided below.
- "Number of County C-Sections Similar to Those Statewide" (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 9/12).
- "C-Sections and the Profit Motive in California" (Hensley, "Shots," NPR, 9/13).