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Matern Child Health J. 2008 Mar;12(2):266-74. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Impact of the HealthChoice program on cesarean section and vaginal birth after C-section deliveries: a retrospective analysis.

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Public Policy Department, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Public Policy Building, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.



To assess the impact of the HealthChoice program in Maryland on cesarean section and vaginal birth after C-section deliveries.


Pre-post design using a comparison group with Maryland State Inpatient Databases, part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Although the combined 1995 and 2000 database contained over 1.2 million inpatient discharge records, the analysis included all hospital discharge abstracts for women in labor. To identify the delivery, Diagnoses-Related Groups (DRGs) 370-375 were used from the discharge data. Together, there were 128,743 births identified in both years.


Pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid managed care were compared pre-implementation and post implementation with pregnant women delivering babies under private insurance. The analysis computed difference-in-differences estimates using a logistic regression model that controlled for maternal characteristics, payment source, labor and delivery complications, and hospital characteristics. The outcome variables included Primary Cesarean, Repeat Cesarean, and Vaginal Birth after C-section.


These results suggest that Medicaid managed care enrollees were less likely to undergo cesarean section deliveries relative to privately insured beneficiaries. Medicaid MCOs may have done a better job of limiting the growth in overused procedures than did MCOs and providers for privately insured women.


This study has shown that there has been an overall increase in the use of primary and repeat cesarean sections in Maryland hospitals. However, HealthChoice limited this increase for Medicaid enrollees relative to privately insured women. On the other hand, vaginal births after C-section have declined in Maryland.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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