Study Examines Likelihood of Very Low Birthweight Black Infants Being Born at Hospitals With High Infant Mortality Rates
"Black/White Differences in Very Low Birth Weight Neonatal Mortality Rates Among New York City Hospitals," Pediatrics: Black infants with very low birthweights (or VLBW, characterized as less than three pounds, five ounces) are more likely than VLBW white infants to be born in hospitals with high neonatal death rates, according to the study. Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine looked at all live births and deaths of infants born in 45 New York City hospitals between January 1996 and December 2001 and measured VLBW neonatal mortality rates (deaths within 28 days after birth). The study found that 21% of VLBW black infants were born at hospitals with high neonatal mortality rates, compared with 11% of VLBW white infants. The study states that if black women delivering VLBW infants gave birth at the same hospitals as white women having VLBW infants, the mortality rate for VLBW black infants would drop by 5% and reduce the mortality rate gap between black and white VLBW infants by 34% (Commonwealth Fund release, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.