Short maternity stays don’t lead to readmits, M&R says

A recent study conducted by Seattle-based consulting firm Milliman & Robertson (M&R) finds no relationship between single-day maternity stays (so-called "drive-by deliveries") and higher hospital readmission rates for either the mother or the infant. Similarly, the study found no significant relationship between two-day stays for cesarean section and readmission rates.

Two M&R researchers, Frederick W. Spong, MD, a health care consultant, and Dennis J. Hulet, an actuary, studied 1993 national readmission rates for mothers who spent 24 hours or longer in the hospital. For normal vaginal deliveries, the readmission rate was 1.96% after a one-day hospital stay and 2.08% following a longer stay. The findings for cesarean section were similar.

M&R contends that these findings support their own Healthcare Management Guidelines, which, coincidentally, recommend 24-hour maternity stays for normal delivery and 48-hour postoperative stays for cesarean section. The firm stresses, however, that its guidelines are meant to serve only as benchmarks, not hard-and-fast standards for treating patients with no complicating conditions.