TX health officials question NICU overuse

The New York Times, March 21, 2011

An unlikely battlefield in Texas' budget war is a hushed pink-and-blue hospital nursery, where 1- and 2-pound babies bleat like lambs under heating lamps and neonatal nurses use tiny rulers to measure limbs that are no bigger than fingers. State health officials, searching for solutions to Texas' multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, have set their sights on these neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs, which they fear are being overbuilt and overused by hospitals eager to profit from the high-cost care and by doctors who are too quick to offer pregnant mothers elective inductions and Caesarean sections before their babies are full term.

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