Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grassroots Network: ACTION ALERT for Birth Centers

Dear Friends,

I know we are all really busy, but below is a really important ACTION ALERT from the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) to help Birth Centers. Your 3 phone calls are a gift you can give to mothers and families that costs you nothing more than a few moments of your time.

Read AABC’s Alert below for very straightforward instructions. Phone calls are needed before December 22. Make your calls even if you have nothing to do with Birth Centers support this midwife/mother friendly option for all women.

Some background: Birth centers around the country are owned and staffed by all kinds of midwives, and are one place where CPMs and CNMs frequently work together. Birth Centers provide an excellent alternative to the hospital setting and should be available to everyone. Medicaid does not specifically cover birth centers, so even where the midwife professional services are covered, there is no mandate to cover the "facility fee" the costs of the birth center itself, and insurance coverage typically follows Medicaid rules. Some state medicaid programs have opted to cover this cost, but recent actions at the federal level threaten this coverage because birth centers are not specifically named in the relevant federal statute. Without medicaid and insurance coverage for birth center facility fees, most if not all birth centers will be unable to continue operation, depriving all of us of this option. The only solution is to get federal legislation to specifically include birth centers in medicaid. This is the effort that the American Association of Birth Centers is spearheading; the first step is to get Senators and Representatives to sponsor the bill AABC is developing. ALL of us are needed to help achieve this goal! For more detailed background information, see the link in AABC’s Legislative Alert message below.

When you call your Congress people, do tell them that you are a mom/midwife/doula/etc., and you can say that birth centers are a vital birthing option to which all women should have access. (If you work/own/birthed at a birthing center, great, tell them that, but you don't need to have had a birthing center experience to support this action.)

Read AABC’s ALERT below, and make your 3 brief calls today!

Sincerely,
Arielle Greenberg Bywater and Susan Hodges, "gatekeeper"


American Association of Birth Centers
Legislative Alert


URGENT - Make Calls before December 22nd!

We are making progress with education of the House and Senate about the need to add the birth center facility to Medicaid covered services! But, many Representatives and Senators have not yet had a call from you or your clients. We must have sponsors from both parties! We are also targeting key people who will vote YES or NO whether our bill will get out of committee and to the floor -- once we have introduced the bill.

For background information click here

Please make calls to congressional health staffers this week before the holiday recess!

1. Click here to get the names and phone numbers of the Washington D.C. offices of your two Senators and your Representative.

2. Ask the name of the healthcare staffer and ask to speak to them.

3. Write down their name and phone number.

4. Tell them you own/direct/work at/are a consumer of/care about the services of a birth center.

5. Tell them that a bill will be introduced soon to add birth centers to Medicaid. [NOTE: the bill does not yet have a bill number.]

6. Ask for their support and sponsorship of our bill to add birth centers to Medicaid. That's all you need to say--we'll do the rest.

7. Then call or email AABC's lobbyist Karen Fennell (301-830-3910, karenfennell50@yahoo.com or me (423-253-4455, jkalliman@yahoo.com to tell us what they said. We will follow up.

NOTE: We do not have a bill number because it is not yet introduced, but we want to introduce the bill in January and need sponsors now. We can send them the draft bill language if they are interested in sponsoring the bill.

This is urgent if we want to sustain birth centers in the United States. Please call today.

Please pass this on to your Friends of the Birth Center groups and ask them to call too.

Sincerely,

Jill Alliman, CNM, MSN
Legislative Chair
American Association of Birth Centers

2 comments:

ali said...

I am creating a documentary film project around this medicaid reimbursement issue. Does any one have any more information or personal stories about access to a birth center as a medicaid mother?

keep up the good work ladies!

email: alisonnyoung@gmail.com

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