Case study: FL hospitals offer luxuries in maternity rooms

In Orlando, FL, two hospitals offer a glimpse of what it takes these days to attract expectant moms--including touches like granite floors, flat-screen TVs and masseuses for comforting massages. Increasingly, hospitals in Orlando and elsewhere are making big investments in comfort, privacy and even glamour. Labor and delivery is particularly prone to getting the four-star treatment.

When Orlando Health's Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies opened, the $112 million tower was created to offer state of the art care, but also the kind of luxuries you might see in upscale hotels. Amenities include massage, a four-course gourmet meal for two for $75 or upgraded linens for the bed and bath. Winnie Palmer is now the third-busiest hospital in the nation in terms of deliveries.

Competing Florida Hospital, meanwhile, which is owned by Adventist Health System, is investing more than $16 million to refurbish its maternity unit in nearby Winter Park and another $4 million in its Orlando facility. The Winter Park facility, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, includes private postpartum rooms with hardwood floors, refrigerators and chairs-turned-beds for dad to sleep with mom and baby. It also offers afternoon tea and scones and a five-course gourmet meal for $18 a person.

Administrators of the hospitals say that while labor and delivery isn't a high-margin service line, they benefit from attracting women to deliver at their facility, given that women who have a baby at a hospital tend to direct their family to that hospital for other services.

To learn more about the baby war:
- read this Orlando Sentinel piece

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