Frequently Asked Questions about CDC LOCATe

CDC LOCATe ℠ and CDC Levels of Care Assessment Tool ℠ are service marks of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The Levels of Care Assessment Tool (LOCATe) is a web-based instrument that can assist states and other jurisdictions to classify birthing facilities based on the level of risk-appropriate care they can provide. CDC LOCATe offers a standard process for assessment that aligns with the most recent guidelines and policy statements issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

Implementing LOCATe can help in the development and evaluation of systems of risk-appropriate care. The LOCATe data collection and analysis process gives states a current snap shot of their birth facilities’ capacities and can help strategically improve maternal and infant care delivery.

When a state or jurisdiction implements LOCATe, the following resources are included:

  • An electronic version of LOCATe sent to your agency’s SurveyMonkey or RedCap account
  • Example(s) of LOCATe ‘letter of interest’ that can be shared with stakeholders and birthing facilities
  • Algorithm developed by CDC for assessing the maternal and neonatal level of care for all participating facilities
  • Access to LOCATe’s network of champions (other jurisdictions that have implemented LOCATe) to potentially contact for advice and guidance on implementation strategies
  • Communication and dissemination tools including
    • Facility report template
    • LOCATe presentation slide deck

Given the variety of data collected by LOCATe, there are many possibilities depending on your state or jurisdiction’s priorities. Implementation teams are encouraged to share the results of LOCATe with each individual facility that participated and to discuss any discrepancies between self-assessed level of care and LOCATe assessed level of care. Beyond sharing this information, other opportunities include:

  • Gap analysis of perinatal services within the state or jurisdiction
  • Classify facility levels by different categories
    • Volume of births overall
    • Volume of very low birth weight births/very preterm births
    • Geographical distribution in the state or jurisdiction
    • Percentage with maternal emergency and transport protocols
    • Maternal and neonatal transport volume
  • Analyze differences in maternal and neonatal outcomes
    • Between levels of care (e.g. I vs. II) and within levels of care (e.g. all level II facilities)
    • By provider availability, equipment availability or procedure volume

Every state/jurisdiction that works on risk-appropriate care should think carefully through the potential list of stakeholders in their area. These can include:

  • State and/or local public health departments
  • Hospital Association(s)
  • Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PQC)
  • Clinicians (e.g. Neonatologists, Obstetrician/Gynecologists, and Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists)
  • Local March of Dimes chapter
  • Local professional organization chapters (e.g. AAP, ACOG)

From the experiences of states and other jurisdictions that have implemented LOCATe, typically a unit director or charge nurse completes the assessment tool. It is best if at least two individuals review the information and responses, one from the neonatal unit and one from the obstetric unit, where applicable. Often, someone from the quality department or a physician will also assist.

There is no fee associated with LOCATe implementation.

If you have further questions or are interested in implementing CDC LOCATe please contact