In the 1970s, studies demonstrated that timely access to risk-appropriate neonatal and obstetric care could reduce perinatal mortality. In 1979 the California legislature established the conceptual framework of regionalization of care for women and newborns with passage of H&S Code 123550 – 123610. The regionalization of care for women and newborns was gradually separated with a focus almost entirely on newborns. The designations for hospital that care for newborn infants according to the level of complexity of care provided was first proposed in 1976.
In 2015, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine published guidelines and a policy statement establishing maternal levels of care. Maternal Regionalized care means pregnant women at high risk receive care in facilities that are prepared to provide the required level of specialized care the pregnant woman needs, thereby reducing maternal morbidity and mortality.
MCAH current efforts to further the establishment of Maternal Levels of Care include:
- Establishment of a stakeholder group with key experts in this field to develop recommendations of strategies to establish maternal levels of care.
- Collaboration with the CDC to analyze, interpret hospital self-identified maternal levels of care data.
- Train RPPC Directors to understand the hospitals’ self-identified levels of care data and the American Association of Obstetricians and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine definitions of levels of care.