St. George, Cedar City hospitals are only Utah facilities to make top maternity ward list

ST. GEORGE — The hospitals in St. George and Cedar City have gained national recognition and are the only Utah facilities to make a prestigious list.

This file photo shows a newborn baby at St. George Regional Hospital’s 400 East campus, St. George, Utah, Jan. 1, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

U.S. News & World Report, known for its annual best hospitals list, has released its first list of top maternity care access hospitals in the nation. And both St. George Regional Hospital and Cedar City Hospital are two of the 73 hospitals on the list and the only facilities in the state.

In its announcement, the U.S. News publishers noted the growing number of  “maternity care deserts,” especially in rural areas. 

According to the American Hospital Association, at least 89 obstetric units closed in rural hospitals between 2015 and 2019. By 2020, half of the hospitals in rural communities offered obstetric services like prenatal, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.

Jodie Jamison, the director of obstetrics and neonatal clinical operations for the hospitals’ parent company Intermountain Health, told St. George News that the honor for the St. George and Cedar City hospitals is preventing such a desert in Southern Utah.

“This means that they provide OB service to rural areas that would otherwise be a maternity health care desert,” Jamison said. 

Not every state had hospitals that made the list. Neighboring Nevada, Arizona and Colorado had no hospitals on the list. 

Diagram showing the location of hospitals selected to U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Top Maternity Care Hospitals list as well as areas deemed “maternity care deserts” | Diagram courtesy U.S. News & World Report, St. George News | Click to enlarge

The list was created using data from 2021 including cesarean delivery rates, unexpected newborn complications rates, milk feeding rates, birthing-friendly practices and transparency on racial/ethnic disparities.

Both hospitals received high marks from Utah’s health department recently for their breastfeeding programs.

In the report, U.S. News said the big separation for hospitals that made the list versus those that didn’t were lower rates of cesarean sections in low-risk pregnancies and unexpected newborn complications.

The families in our community deserve top maternity care and Cedar City and St. George Regional are proud to provide the best OB care to our families around Southwest Utah,” Jamison said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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