"At no point has our maternity unit been understaffed, as was reported," she said. "As a matter of fact, in the last two years, we've hired about 240 new nurses, representing about 20 percent of the nursing staff. We are dedicated to providing a single standard of high-quality medical care to all of our patients, regardless of accommodations.
But Flynn said the issue is so well known that some moms of means are passing up the chance for a pampered birthing experience for fear of being viewed as elitist.
"They don't want to be seen as taking away care from the other families," she noted.
However, just because a hospital offers facilities for the one percent, doesn't mean everyone else's baby gets the short shrift.
Dr. Laura Corio, an obstetrician who has been delivering babies at Mt. Sinai for more than a decade, said she has never seen any baby receive special treatment based on finances.
"Of course some rooms are nicer than others but regardless of the room a mother goes into, all the babies go into the same nursery, so staffing ratios aren't affected," she noted.
According to Osborne, Lenox Hill began offering the service to stay competitive and meet rising consumer demand. The trend may be born of economic necessity as well.
At a time where hospitals are faced with shrinking budgets and slashed Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, institutions are looking for new ways to generate income. Lenox Hill reported a $19 million budget gap last year and is already $7 million short of their budget this year according to a recent credit-ratings report by the Fitch Group.