Objective: Recommendations by most national advisory committees on immunization include evaluating all pregnant women for chronic hepatitis B virus infection and immunity to rubella. It is recommended that all pregnant women be screened for hepatitis B surface antigen during an early prenatal visit and that rubella vaccine be administered in the postpartum period to women not known to be immune. This study determined the extent to which hospitals with labor and delivery services adhere to these recommendations.
Methods: We conducted a mail survey of a stratified random sample of all US medical-surgical hospitals to (1) determine the proportion of hospitals with hepatitis B screening policies and rubella immunization programs and (2) identify significant factors associated with the presence of these policies and programs. Hospitals were stratified by number of beds (<100, 100-499, and > or =500) and affiliation with a medical school.
Results: Of 986 institutions surveyed, 858 (87%) responded. Of these, 635 (74%) were labor and delivery hospitals. Approximately half of these (51%) had hospital policies related to screening pregnant women for the hepatitis B surface antigen. Twenty-one percent had rubella immunization programs for postpartum women. Only 14% of labor and delivery hospitals were in full compliance with published recommendations for hepatitis B surface antigen screening and rubella postpartum vaccination. Hospitals were more likely to be compliant if they had more than 100 beds, were private rather than public institutions, were affiliated with a medical school, and were in states with laws regarding hepatitis B surface antigen screening of pregnant women.
Conclusions: Almost half, and more than three quarters, of hospitals were not in compliance with hepatitis B screening and rubella postpartum immunization recommendations, respectively. Hospitals should develop and implement policies for these preventive services.