Tuesday, July 27, 2010

At Last, Life after Medicare: MOMS for the 21st Century

by Kathryn Kravetz Carr, CNM, Chair ACNM Government Affairs Committee

At last Medicare reimbursement equity for nurse-midwives will begin in January. As I start my first year as chair of ACNM’s Government Affairs Committee, we are riding high on the glory that comes from decades of hard work. Now we are blessed with the opportunity to work on something new, at last, something new!

Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century, known as MOMS21, stole the show this year in DC. This magnificent piece of legislation will support improved maternity outcomes, help decrease maternity care costs, and place midwives at the center of the solution. It should come as no surprise that we have one of our very own, certified nurse-midwife Deb Jessup and Legislative Assistant to Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard to thank for drafting this tour de force. MOMS21 has been introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 5807) and a Senate companion bill is expected to follow.

Despite higher childbirth costs in the United States than other industrialized countries, we rank far behind on perinatal outcomes, with striking disparities in communities of color. Procedure-rich hospital stays during a woman’s pregnancy and delivery in the United States render hospital maternity care as Medicaid’s most costly expense.

MOMS21 will allow us, and those who value our work, to pressure Congress to support best maternity practices and the education of a more diverse maternity care workforce. Bill provisions include the promotion of optimal maternity care, a national media campaign, expansion and dissemination of best maternity care data, and core maternity care curricula, more loan repayment and funding for minority recruitment and retention as well as establishing reimbursement for midwives who supervise medical residents, medical students, and student midwives.

Government Affairs Committee (GAC) members will be calling on all midwives and our supporters to contact their legislators and ask them to cosponsor MOMS21. As midwives, we are well positioned and well prepared to be at the forefront of maternity care solutions.

Need more details on MOMS for the 21st Century Act of 2010? Read the ACNM press release and the bill summary.

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