The impact of early discharge laws on the health of newborns
Using an interrupted time series design and a census of births in California over a 6-year period, we show that state and federal laws passed in the late 1990s designed to increase the length of postpartum hospital stays reduced considerably the fraction of newborns that were discharged early. The law had little impact on re-admission rates for privately insured, vaginally delivered newborns, but reduced re-admission rates for privately insured c-section-delivered and Medicaid-insured vaginally delivered newborns by statistically significant amounts. Our calculations suggest the program was not cost saving.
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