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UF Health hospitals’ maternity care ranked among the nation’s best

U.S. News & World Report says UF Health maternity care in Gainesville and Jacksonville is among the best in the nation. (UF Health photo)

U.S. News & World Report says UF Health maternity care in Gainesville and Jacksonville is among the best in the nation. (UF Health photo)

U.S. News & World Report today recognized the maternity practices at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville and UF Health Jacksonville as “high performing” for their excellence and “birthing-friendly” care.

The designation in the publication’s “Best Hospitals for Maternity Care 2023-2024” survey places the practices among the nation’s elite in uncomplicated pregnancies.

“This recognition is especially gratifying since it recognizes the exceptional maternity care we provide at UF Health Shands in Gainesville,” said John Smulian, M.D., M.P.H., who holds the B.L. Stalnaker Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is chair of the UF College of Medicine’s OB-GYN department. “Delivering exceptional pregnancy care that truly matters to families is our passion.”

Hospitals must provide data to confirm several metrics to be rated high performing. This includes information that shows they schedule few births before the due date; avoid cesarean births when possible; rarely encounter complications; and boast a high percentage of breastfed newborns.

“We are incredibly pleased that UF Health Jacksonville has been recognized as high performing in the 2023-2024 U.S. News maternity rankings,” said John Davis, M.D., chair of the department of OB-GYN at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

“This designation reflects our commitment to excellence in maternal care, as evidenced by our outstanding performance in key metrics,” he added. “This achievement was truly a team effort, and the recognition reinforces our dedication to providing the highest-quality care for expectant mothers and their newborns.”

U.S. News also looks at whether a facility meets federal criteria for “birthing-friendly” care. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has guidelines to be recognized as such, which include participation in a statewide or national perinatal quality improvement collaborative program and implementing evidence-based quality interventions in hospital settings to improve maternity care.

Perinatal refers to the weeks before and after birth.

“Relatively little information is readily available to the public about which facilities across the country are best at caring for expectant parents following an uncomplicated pregnancy,” U.S. News noted after last year’s results were released. “By evaluating hospitals using core maternity and perinatal care data … and by publishing this information publicly, we aim to enhance the transparency of the maternity service provision for uncomplicated pregnancies.”

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Bill Levesque
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