In many hospital situations, simply getting to the closest hospital as quickly as possible could be the best decision, but if you are having a baby, you might want to do your homework. Of course, if your water breaks unexpectedly, you might have to settle for the closest doctor. However, if you have time, there are a number of excellent resources available to help find a good healthcare provider (or avoid a bad one) for your big day. Here are a few of the most important resources you can use:
The Newsweek/Leapfrog Group List
The venerable magazine Newsweek ranked 231 U.S. maternity hospitals in 36 states based on safety and quality performance. Newsweek enlisted the help of The Leapfrog Group and its panel of national experts to set the bar for excellence in maternity care, including “achieving low rates of C-section, episiotomy and early elective deliveries, and following crucial protocols to protect mothers and babies.” The most recent ranking from 2020 includes three hospitals from Maryland and one from Washington D.C.
U.S. News & World Report
There are a lot of lists out there, especially online, but few organizations put as much work into creating a fair and unbiased list-making process as does the magazine U.S. News & World Report. You may know their highly influential list of colleges and universities. They also rank hospitals, although, unlike the Newsweek list above, it doesn’t refine them down to maternity or obstetrics. U.S. News gives its evaluation of 64 hospitals in Maryland. Find out which twelve met the U.S. News highest ranking standards and which one made number one.
You might not think of checking with the website Yelp unless you’re trying to pick a restaurant, but Yelp covers just about any business that people have an opinion on. Keep in mind that people with a good experience are less likely to go to Yelp than people with a less than satisfactory experience, so it skews a bit on the negative side.
Medicare Compare has a database of doctors and hospitals with their own star ratings. You can look up hospitals and compare them with this government website. You can see their star ranking (one to five) and click on that ranking to get a breakdown of what they do well compared to the national average and where they need improvement.
The Maryland Board Of Physicians
If you have an idea of who your doctor is going to be, and you want to make sure they have a good track record, you can search by physician for license information & disciplinary action. The Maryland Board of Physicians has a search engine where you can look up a particular health care professional (doctors, physician assistants, therapists, technologists, practitioners, trainers, etc.) by name to check on their license or to conduct research for previous medical malpractice complaints on the public record.
The absence of a complaint does not necessarily mean that the professional in question has had no complaints. For health care providers in Maryland, click here. For health care providers in Washington DC, click here.
What To Look For In A Maryland Maternity Hospital
Not all maternity hospitals are alike. Each facility has its own benefits and drawbacks. In order to make an informed decision on the right maternity hospital for you, it is important to be aware of the factors that go into these decisions.
Before you select a hospital, consider each of the following factors. Together, they should give you a better idea of the best hospital for your circumstances.
For many people, insurance coverage is essential when considering a maternity hospital. Whether or not the facility is within the insurance carrier’s network is crucial, given that the costs of delivery and birth might not be covered otherwise. If you select a maternity hospital outside of your network, you could face significant out-of-pocket expenses.
Special Care Nursery Or NICU
It is critical to prepare for all possible circumstances during childbirth. If your baby is born premature, your child will require special medical care right away. If you select a maternity hospital with a special care nursery, or a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you could ensure immediate access to high-level medical care for your premature baby. These facilities provide specialized observation and care for babies born at higher risk for medical issues.
Labor can occur quickly and without notice. It’s important to consider the travel distance between your home and your chosen maternity hospital. Ideally, you will want to find a maternity hospital that is relatively close to your home in case you go into labor earlier than expected.
If you intend to breastfeed your baby, you could benefit from choosing a maternity hospital that provides breastfeeding guidance and support. Many maternity units offer breastfeeding mothers lactation consultations. These certified lactation consultants visit new mothers during their postpartum recovery and provide tips and advice on breastfeeding when needed.
Prenatal And Postnatal Support
Some facilities offer useful programs before and after birth. These prenatal and postnatal resources could improve the chances of a healthy delivery and assist a new mom with her postpartum recovery. Some of these options include health and wellness classes that help moms-to-be early in their pregnancy. Other hospitals might provide postnatal assistance for medical issues such as pelvic floor therapy. This therapy can help with urinary incontinence after giving birth.
Suspect A Birth Injury? Contact Us Today
Medical mistakes can happen anywhere—even at the best maternity hospitals in Maryland. Acts of carelessness or negligence at the hands of doctors or nurses could result in long-term consequences for babies and mothers alike. Financial compensation could be available if your baby suffered a birth injury due to a healthcare provider or facility’s negligence.
If you suspect your child suffered a birth injury, our team is here to help. At Brown & Barron, we make it our mission to protect families’ rights against large hospitals and insurance companies. Call right away for a free consultation.