Cesarean sections for Dollars

C-section rates higher at for-profit hospitals


A database compiled from [California] state birthing records revealed that, all factors considered, women are at least 17 percent more likely to have a cesarean section at a for-profit hospital than at one that operates as a nonprofit. A surgical birth can bring in twice the revenue of a vaginal delivery.

In addition, some hospitals appear to be performing more C-sections for non-medical reasons - including a doctor's level of patience and the staffing schedules in maternity wards, according to interviews with health professionals.

Across the state, more women are having C-sections for a variety of reasons: a rise in obesity and the number of older mothers, fear of lawsuits among doctors and hospitals, and a growing cultural acceptance of the procedure. Rather than examine these well-known trends, California Watch looked at why individual hospitals are performing cesarean sections at higher rates than others.


Some critics say the numbers provide ammunition to those who have long suspected that unnecessary C-sections are performed to help pad the bottom line.

"This data is compelling and strongly suggests, as many childbirth advocates currently suspect, that there may be a provable connection between profit and the cesarean rate," said Desirre Andrews, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, a nonprofit that would like to see C-sections only in cases of medical need.

Comment: I suspect this is a nationwide issue


  1. The writer seems a little biased. I have always heard that it is safer, all things considered, to have a c-section. And if I was in that situation, I would consider the extra 1k worth the increased health safety, however small.

  2. I personally think that Los Angeles causes C sections, since 9 of the top 15 hospitals for C sections are in LA county, with a few others in nearby Riverside, San Bernardino, and such. Must be the smog, or maybe that they've stolen so many sports teams from other places. :^)

    Seriously, that's the quality of this work--it's just by one factor, when any good analyst knows there are any number of factors that ought to impact this.


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