Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grassroots Network: MAMA Letter-Writing Campaign

Dear Friends,

Please join the M.A.M.A. campaign effort to send an outpouring of personal letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives to their local district offices this week.

Arielle Greenberg Bywater, "gatekeeper sidekick"

In this message:
A. Greetings and Background Information
B. Instructions for Letter Writing
C. Sample Letter

A. Greetings, mothers, midwives and supporters of maternity care choices!

We need all your energy and enthusiasm for our ambitious policy goals on behalf of pregnant women across the nation and the Certified Professional Midwives who can provide services to them. This is the MOMENT for action!

Just last week, the Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) Campaign organized twenty midwives and consumers to visit their Congress members in Washington DC and tell them about midwifery care. This lobbying push is a vital part of the MAMA Campaign mission to increase all women's access to midwives and to quality, affordable maternity care by achieving federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).

The MAMA Campaign was established by a coalition of six key national midwifery and consumer organizations.

Our immediate goal is to get an amendment into the health care bills currently moving through Congress to mandate federal Medicaid coverage for CPM services. Health care reform is at a pivotal point and we have an unprecedented opportunity to inform Congressional members about the skilled, high quality maternity care provided by CPMs and the cost savings CPMs can achieve. Congressional members are particularly interested in what their constituents are thinking.

So now we need your help …
• Please join the effort to send an outpouring of personal letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives to their local district offices this week. We've learned this is the best way to get their attention on fast-moving urgent policy issues.

• Please read further to see a sample letter you can use, and tips for writing. Your role in the MAMA Campaign is so important. Now is your chance to stand up and be counted!

Thank you for your support!

B. Writing Your Congress Members – Suggestions & Instructions

THANK YOU! Contacting your U.S. Senators and Representatives is important! Please mail your letters to their local district offices.
You'll find a sample letter below these instructions; use or adapt this language for your own personalized letter to your members of Congress. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact Evelyn deFrees, Campaign Manager (info@mamacampaign.org).

Eight points to remember when writing your own letter:

1. Ask: Please be sure to include the specific "ask," underlined in the first and final paragraphs of the sample letter (the "ask" is what you want your Senator or Representative to do).

2. Information: The second paragraph is an important part of the message. Feel free to use other words in paragraphs 3 and 4 to explain why Certified Professional Midwives should be added as Medicaid providers. See handout "Midwives and Mothers in Action: Improve Maternity Care Quality by Expanding Patient Choice"

3. Your story: A sentence or two about your "story" personalizes the letter; describe a birth or birth provider experience you or a family member or friend has had, or why you are passionate about this issue.

4. NOTE: Please ALWAYS write out "Certified Professional Midwife"; do NOT use "CPM" by itself (which is frequently misinterpreted with the more familiar "CNM").

5. CPM Facts: If you want to write about the CPM credential and/or education, please use the CPM FAQ sheet – please stick to that exact language, which has been carefully developed for this purpose.

6. Format: Neat, hand-written letters are the most effective – it shows that someone cared enough about the issue to take their time to personally sit down and write to their congress member. Typed, printed and signed letters are next best. Make sure your name and address with zipcode are on your letters as well as the envelope.

7. District Offices: Please send letters to your U.S. Senator and/or Representative's local district/state office (mail to their Washington office would take several weeks to get to them). For addresses: Visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov ; once on these homepages, click on the search tool in the upper corners of the pages to find your own U.S. Senator or Representatives, and their websites and addresses for district offices.

8. Tell us you've taken action: Please send us a copy of your letter so we can track what policy-makers are hearing from constituents like you about the urgent need for federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives. Please send a copy to info@mamacampaign.org or to MAMA Campaign c/o NACPM, 243 Banning Road, Putney VT 05346


The Honorable [Full Name]
[Street Address]
[City], [State] [Zip]

Dear [Senator/Representative Last Name]:

Congress is now debating comprehensive health reform legislation. I urge you to ensure that the maternity care needs of millions of women and their families are addressed by your support for adding Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)--who are licensed by their states--to the list of Medicaid-eligible providers recognized at the federal level. Health care reform must address the problems and high costs of maternity care in the U.S and ensure safe, qualified maternity care providers for all pregnant women.

Safe high-quality care: Today in many states across the country women seek safe, high-quality, health-promoting maternity care provided by Certified Professional Midwives who provide excellent childbirth outcomes with a fraction of the medical interventions (including cesarean section). I received my prenatal care and delivered my baby with the assistance of a Certified Professional Midwife and believe all women in our state and country should have this safe, cost-effective choice regardless of their income level.

Cost Effective: Pregnant women on Medicaid deserve access to the full range of maternity care providers including Certified Professional Midwives. The choice of Certified Professional Midwives is often restricted to those with private insurance coverage or the capacity to pay out-of-pocket. Adding Certified Professional Midwives to the Medicaid list would start reducing health care costs immediately.

Choice at lower cost: Childbirth is the number one reason for hospitalization in the US, accounting for $86 billion in annual expenditures in 2006. Much of that spending is driven by costly, overused and unnecessary interventions. Certified Professional Midwives can help Congress deliver on the basic goals of health care reform: preserving a patient's choice of health care provider while simultaneously improving quality and outcomes, at lower cost. Expanding Medicaid coverage to include services provided by Certified Professional Midwives is the equitable thing to do. The tremendous cost and quality advantages make it sound public policy.

Please support this important change to the law governing Medicaid so that Certified Professional Midwives who are licensed by their states are added to the list of Medicaid-eligible providers recognized at the federal level. Thank you for your time.


[Your name]
[Phone number]

Please visit the Midwives and Mothers in Action Campaign online.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A good place to send letters to the editors is Publishaletter.com.
The letters are also published on the site and there is a good collection of letters on Health Care there.