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J Perinatol. 2000 Dec;20(8 Pt 1):520-9.

Specialty newborn care: trends and issues.

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National Perinatal Information Center, 144 Wayland Avenue, Suite 300, Providence, RI 02906, USA.



This report explores the availability of neonatal special care services in the US and examines the variation in those services from both the staffing and service perspectives.


The American Hospital Association survey of hospitals and a special national survey of hospitals with special care services were used as data sources to describe changes in the status of high-risk care between 1983 and 1997. The latter survey had a 69% response rate and was a collaborative effort among the March of Dimes, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ross Labs, and the National Perinatal Information Center (NPIC).


The study found that across all regions of the US, the special care supply has expanded. However, the study shows wide variation in medical staffing even among those hospitals offering the most intensive services; 25% had no physician in-house coverage 24 hr/d.


There is wide availability of high-risk newborn care which is a possible oversupply; however, differential physician staffing raises issues regarding the need for more standardized care.

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