As part of its efforts to improve maternity care within the state, New Jersey has released the latest edition of the New Jersey Report Card of Hospital Maternity Care.

The governor’s office said the report card is the first of its kind in the country. The report card outlines key metrics on maternal health care and is based on 2021 and 2022 hospital deliveries reported to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) through general acute care hospital discharges and electronic birth records.

In a press release, the governor’s office said the report card comes in a newly redesigned format allowing viewers easy access to additional metrics and improved interactive features, and was designed with the needs of expecting moms front of mind.

“The NJ Report Card on Hospital Maternity Care allows us to evaluate our progress, identify best practices, and plan our next steps as we work to make New Jersey the safest, most equitable state in the nation to deliver a baby,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Most importantly however, the new report card has additional interactive features and critical statistics that empower moms and families with important information to guide their decisions.”

The metrics highlighted in the report card include interactive data on hospital-specific and statewide births including complication rates and severe maternal morbidity. The governor’s office noted that this information is designed to be user-friendly to help birthing people make informed decisions about the care and outcomes at hospitals across New Jersey.

Building on the consumer-focused purpose of the report card, the state has also added new metrics for each of the state’s birthing hospitals, including: recognition as a Baby-Friendly hospital; availability of lactation consultants; 24/7 availability of neonatologists and/or perinatologists; availability of special care nurseries and/or neonatal intensive care units; and nurse-to-patient ratio in postpartum units.

“These metrics clearly demonstrate the continued work needed to ensure safe and equitable maternal outcomes for all birthing people in New Jersey,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston. “We will continue to redouble our efforts, working with Nurture NJ and the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Authority, of which I am a member, to strive for safer and healthier deliveries.”

The redesigned report card supports a recommendation in the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, initially unveiled in 2021. In the strategic plan, the Department of Health was told to prioritize the already planned overhaul of the state data infrastructure to provide access to more timely and granular maternal and infant mortality and morbidity data, with priority given to improved user navigability, and ease of analysis of maternal health by multi-health factors.

The governor’s office also noted that this report card is part of the larger New Jersey Maternal Data Center in the Department of Health, which is responsible for developing data collection and submission protocols for maternal mortality, morbidity, and racial and ethnic disparity data from relevant health care facilities in the state; conducting data analyses and developing reports and a public-facing dashboard on the state of maternal health; and disseminating information and analyses relevant stakeholders and the public.

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