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Indiana hospital receives 'high performing' designation for maternal outcomes among Black patients

Medical instruments affixed to a beige wall in an exam room.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago is the only hospital in the state to receive the “high performing” designation.

Black patients in Indiana have a higher infant and maternal mortality rate than White patients despite having fewer births overall. U.S. News and World Report found just 26 hospitals across the country with “excellent outcomes” for cesarean sections and unexpected newborn complications among Black patients — and only one of those hospitals is in Indiana.

The organization gives the designation to hospitals that serve more than 20 Black patients per year, and remain below a certain threshold for C-section and newborn complication rates among Black patients.

St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago is the only hospital in the state to receive the “high performing” designation.

Dr. Hugh Mighty, an OB-GYN and senior vice president for health affairs at Howard University, said the nation hasn’t improved on maternal mortality in the past two to three decades.

“I'd say in some ways we've gotten worse as the health care variables have changed, as access has changed, as obstetrical hospitals across the nation have shut down and created basically deserts where obstetrical care is inaccessible,” Mighty said.

READ MORE: Advocates: Doulas could lower Indiana's pregnancy-related deaths

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Dr. Yolanda Lawson, an OB-GYN and president of the National Medical Association, said addressing the country’s maternal mortality crisis means increasing access to health care, and other important determinants of health, such as housing or food.

“It's going to take a community and a collaborative approach to solve this problem,” Lawson said. “It needs to be well-informed. It's going to take policymakers. It's going to take hospitals. It's going to take doctors.”

Lawson said there also needs to be continued work to prevent bias and discrimination in health care, and more effort to build trust with patients.

The list also includes three hospitals in nearby states — two in Ohio and one in Michigan.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at

Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.