Landmark Health Reform Law To Improve Access To Midwifery, Benefit Women's Health

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is pleased to announce that certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) have achieved equitable reimbursement for their services under Medicare. As of January 1, 2011, the CNM reimbursement rate will increase from 65% to 100% of the Medicare Part B fee schedule. This long-awaited provision is part of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law today by President Barack Obama.

"Inadequate reimbursement for midwifery services has been a significant barrier to women's access to the valuable services of CNMs and certified midwives (CMs)," ... "This legislation not only improves Medicare for women, but will encourage Medicaid plans and third-party payers to adopt equitable reimbursement policies for midwifery services."

CNMs and CMs provide health care services to women of all ages and stand to play a vital role in increasing access to quality, affordable primary care, gynecology, family planning, and maternity care services. Equitable reimbursement will enhance the viability of midwifery practices as well as increase the incentive for hospital and physician practices to employ CNMs and CMs. In addition, CNM- and CM-attended births-which occur primarily in hospitals, but also in birth centers and private residences-are associated with high-quality outcomes and fewer cesarean sections ... cesarean section has been identified as an overused maternity care intervention by the National Priorities Partnership, an influential multi-stakeholder coalition working to identify top priorities for improving the quality and affordability of health care in the US.

... the bill recognizes freestanding birth centers under Medicaid, improves access to women's preventive health services, ensures direct access to the obstetrician/gynecologist or CNM/CM of their choice ... and begins the effort to reduce the rate of increase for medical malpractice insurance through state-focused initiatives ...

Sounds similar to what will be occurring here. After November 2010, women who seek the services of a private midwife for a planned hospital birth, will be able to have her care entirely (or mostly) funded by Medicare.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448