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SMFM Special Statement: Quality metric for timely postpartum follow-up after severe hypertension

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Because postpartum exacerbation of severe hypertension is common, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that patients with severe hypertension during the childbirth hospitalization be seen within 72 hours after discharge. In this statement, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine proposes a uniform metric reflecting the rate of timely postpartum follow-up of patients with severe hypertension. The metric is designed to be measured using automated calculations based on billing codes derived from claims data. The metric can be used in quality improvement projects to increase the rate of timely follow-up in patients with severe hypertension during the childbirth hospitalization. Suggested steps for implementing such a project are outlined.