Friday, October 2, 2009

Midwives Included in Health Care Reform

National Midwifery Week (October 4-10) starts this Sunday, and we have some wonderful news to kick off the week. Equitable reimbursement for certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) under Medicare is now included in both the House and Senate health care reform bills!

The midwifery equity provision made it into the Senate bill last night after Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) introduced it as part of an amendment in the Senate Finance Committee.

In the coming weeks, the Senate bill and the House bill are expected to come up for vote in both chambers and are widely projected to pass. As it stands now, the only thing between CNMs and 100% reimbursement for their services under Medicare appears to be President Obama’s signature.

While this is a major step forward for the midwifery community, ACNM’s parallel effort to win inclusion of certified midwives (CMs) under Medicare and Medicaid was not successful. We’ve already identified additional strategies for continuing to pursue reimbursement for CMs.

Meanwhile, hats off to Senator Conrad for introducing the amendment and to Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) for saying, “Without a doubt, the certified nurse-midwives in Arkansas have done a tremendous job and I want to thank Sen. Conrad for moving forward with that.”

Let the National Midwifery Week celebrations begin!

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