St. Agnes will provide 2nd day free after birth

MARYLAND WATCH

February 13, 1996

St. Agnes Hospital yesterday became the first in Maryland to offer a second day free for routine births.

Some insurance companies and health maintenance organizations had been declining to pay for more than a 24-hour hospital stay for routine births. Concerned that this might lead to more complications and health problems for mothers and newborns, the General Assembly last year passed a law requiring insurers either to pay for a 48-hour stay or provide a visit from a home-care nurse. Most chose the latter, prompting consideration of further legislation this year.

"We're doing this because we believe it's the right thing to do," said Robert E. Pezzoli, president and CEO of St. Agnes. He said the hospital is following guidelines from obstetric and pediatric professional groups that 24 hours is not sufficient "to make sure an uncomplicated birth is really an uncomplicated birth."

The Southwest Baltimore hospital said it will provide the second day free to newborns and mothers even if insurance would have paid.

Mr. Pezzoli said the announcement might also provide some edge for St. Agnes in attracting patients and doctors.

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