LI hospitals recognized for maternal care

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By Dan Sears

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Kelsy Janel Reyes was the first baby to be born in January 2024. The healthy baby girl was born to parents Dora Lilian Mendez and Rudy Reyes at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore at 12:10 a.m.

New and expecting parents like Mendez and Reyes continue to keep hospitals on Long Island busy.

At NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island, more than 5,000 babies are born at the hospital’s New Life Center in Mineola each year, according to the health system’s website, and 15,000, collectively when tallying in births at its Tisch Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.  Meanwhile, Northwell Health delivers 30,000 babies a year throughout the health system, according to its website. And at Oceanside-based Mount Sinai South Nassau, more than 2,008 babies were born in 2023.

Focusing on Nassau County, the most recent New York State figures reveal a live birth rate of 13,331 in 2020, while Suffolk County saw 14,712.

And while other parts of the country are seeing what experts call “maternity health care deserts,” Long Island parents have some choice when it comes to deciding maternity care providers.

In December, for example, NYU Langone Hospital–Long Island and Mount Sinai South Nassau were both recognized as “high performing,” the highest ranking possible, by U.S. News & World Report in the publications 2024 “Best Hospitals for Maternity Care.”

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The hospitals were recognized for their reduced C-section delivery rate, low rate of early elective delivery rate, reduced risk for unexpected newborn complications, increased rate of routine VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section), high rate of exclusive infant breastfeeding; low rate of episiotomy, commitment to routine birthing-friendly practices, and transparency on racial/ethnic disparities.

An all-time high of 680 hospitals from across the country that provide labor and delivery services submitted detailed data to be considered for the ratings.

“The rating is a direct result of our team’s commitment to meeting the needs of mothers who decide to deliver at Mount Sinai South Nassau,” Dr. Alan Garely, the health’s system chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said in a statement.

“Through teamwork and collaboration, each mother and newborn receives the compassionate care and services that they deserve from the very beginning to the day they are discharged home,” Garely added. “I am extraordinarily proud of our team.”

The region’s healthcare systems were also recognized by U.S. News for their maternal care.

“Our OB/gyns are responsible for more than 20,000 deliveries each year at our Long Island hospitals alone,” said Northwell Health spokesperson Jason Molinet, in a written statement to LIBN.

“We look at the quality of care at all of our maternity units and are extremely proud of those outcomes because we take care of the most complex cases and high-risk mothers-to-be,” he added. “Northwell has developed a robust obstetrical outcomes database that tracks multiple factors, including the equity of care provided, to ensure that moms and their newborns receive the highest quality of care possible.”

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Stony Brook Medicine officials said that their maternal care team delivers “routine, low-risk pregnancies to high-risk cases requiring the expertise of our team of maternal-fetal medicine specialists.”

Stony Brook also has “a long-standing, full-scope midwifery program offering comprehensive prenatal care, labor and birth care, postpartum care, and lactation support.”

The hospital also stands out with its state-designated, Level 4, Regional Perinatal Center in Suffolk County — staffed and equipped to handle the complete range of mother and baby needs.

“Doctors from across Suffolk transfer their most challenging, high-risk newborn cases to our neonatal intensive care unit,” officials said, as an academic health center,  “specializes in all areas of women’s health and supports the well-being of women at every stage in their lives.”

Catholic Health, which is shuttering its St. Catherine of Siena Hospital maternity ward, said in a statement that it is “committed to providing the most advanced treatments in maternal-fetal medicine.” For example, the health system’s Good Samaritan University Hospital is nationally ranked for Obstetrics & Gynecology in the latest U.S. News & World Report issue.

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Catholic Health is also expanding its portfolio of maternal-fetal services, with a new mother-baby unit at Good Samaritan with more private rooms for families.  In July, the health system opened the Mercy Hospital Family Center, which is designed to increase access to affordable care. The health system also has a women’s cardiac wellness program. And through cardiologists at St. Francis Heart Center, the health system works with expectant mothers with known cardiovascular issues or pregnancy-related complications to ensure they get specialized care.

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