Maternal Care Desert Variable


A maternity care desert is any county in the United States without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers. Low access to appropriate preventive, prenatal and postpartum care is defined as counties with one or fewer hospitals or birth centers that provide obstetric care, few obstetric providers (fewer than 60 per 10,000 births) or a high proportion of women without health insurance (10 percent or more). Moderate access to care is defined as living in a county with access to few hospitals/ birth centers or OB providers and adequate health insurance coverage (less than 10 percent of women of reproductive age uninsured). Full access to maternity care can be defined by availability of hospitals or birth centers providing obstetric care and availability of providers offering obstetric care.

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