Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cashing on caesarian births


Are private hospitals cashing in by preforming unneeded C-sections?

The decision on where to give birth to your baby is taken very early in the pregnancy. Here in Oman, for example, Muscat Private Hospital doesn't accept late term registrations. If you want to give birth in their hospital, you have to decide right from the begining and sign-in for their package which includes the birth as well as the prenatal visits during the pregnancy.

At the time that we were making this decision a lot of people told us that private hospitals are more likely to go for a C-section because they make more money that way. I was inclined to believe it just on the basis of all the women I know who gave caesarian births at private hospitals compared to the others I know who gave birth in government hospitals where the ratio of natural birth was much higher. In the end we chose to go for a public hospital for various factors including our choice of doctor who said she would be more comfortable working with her team at Khoula Hospital rather than with a team she's not used to at a private hospital.

The statistics in the graphic above are based Sharjah hospitals. It shows that in 2004 82% of births in public hospitals were by natural delivery, going down to 81% in 2005. However in Sharjah's private hospitals the figures show that only 73% of births were by natural delivery in 2004, going down to 67% in 2005.

Could it be because private hospitals are more likely to give the choice between natural birth or caesarian to women (which some women prefer), or are these private hospitals really taking advantage to make a profit?


Per Your Request said...

Or it might be due to the fact that women with pregnancy complications seek specialized doctors at private hospitals? Nonetheless that number is still too high even if adjusted for that variable. I guess it is a profit-maximizing business after all.

Omar Barsawad said...

Thank you for sharing this. All I know, is that most private hospitals, are many times - more interested in making money rather than helping; that is what I notice around here.

The problem here, is that - public hospiatls are always full and one has to wait in long lines, to be treated. People find it easier to go to private hospitals where they can get personalised service and attention.

muscati said...

Actually here in Oman women who have complications in pregnancy are most likely to go to a public hospital to give birth because they don't believe that private hospitals are equiped to handle the complications. The view is that a the doctors at public hospitals go through dozens of births a day and have basically seen it all and are ready for it all unlike the doctors at private hospitals because private healthcare is still relatively new here.

nomadica said...

I think the incentive to make profit is definitely there in private hospitals. Another thing I noticed about private hospitals in Oman, specifically Muscat Private Hospital, is that they are quite lenient with offering pregnant women ultrasounds. Here in the US, I was only allowed one ultrasound at 20 weeks of my pregnancy, and they don't allow them after that because of potential health risks (there was some noise here in the media about this when tom cruise bought his own ultrasound machine to monitor his baby!). But a friend who recently delivered at Muscat private hospital was allowed a number of ultrasounds, as long as she paid for them. She was not discouraged about this at all, even though she had no pregnancy complications, which is the only reason they would allow an additional ultrasound here.

Arabian Princess said...

Like what Muscati said, public hospitals are more experienced when it comes to complications.

I realised that private hospitals do ask for unecessery stuff to make money!! Like when you go, they would give you extra vitamins even if you dont need them just because you would buy them from thier pharmacy!!

mirage said...

let us not forget that there is an increasing trend for women to choose a c-sect for various reasons. At MPH I was given an option of joining later rather than having to make a decision up front so they were a litle flexible with it. All in all I was happy and yes, like any business, they are in it for the bucks too but my OBGYN really tried to keep me on the "natural delivery" track for as long as possible until the last week when we realised I would have to have another c-sect, so she was really pro natural vs. c-sect.

Sowhat said...

totally agree , private hospitals here ask for some extra investigation sometimes and do some precedure for no valid reasons .. talking about C-sec and spontaneus vaginal delivery (SVD ) , well it all return to the judgment of the doctor amean especialy in gyn/obs everything is reffered to the doctor judgment and experience , yet i have heard about such practice done but havent read the doctor report to know if it was right or not ..

one more point to mention is hospital stay after C-sec is 2-3 days while after uncomplicated SVD it is 1 or 2 days .. so they gonna charge you more for stayin the in the hospital and they will charge you more as C-sec cost more that SVD ..

regarding private clinic, Hospital here in Oman , the system is not well stabilished yet .. most of the consultants are working in the private clinics are working also in the govermental one since private hospitals is not able to pay them full salary and would only offer them part time job ..

one last comment.. judging by my experience govermental hospital is thousand time better than the private one ( here in oman ) but they lack the privacy , luxury , and suffer from verrry long waiting list for most of the specialities .. which will affet their performance sooner or later ..

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