Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minnesota passes Birth Center Law

"Time to celebrate!

"The governor signed the birth center bill into law this morning, May 21, 2010! You can see for your self at: http://www.governor.state.mn.us/priorities/legislation/index.htm

"What an incredible day for birth centers, midwives, and childbearing women! We are the first state to have equal reimbursement for CPMs written into law. Women on medicaid now have expanded birth options. And CPMs are now a medicaid provider type! We have a great birth center licensure bill that other states can use as a model. What an incredible journey.

"Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort!" Kate Saumweber sent this announcement out to the midwives in Minnesota with the exciting news. In her email she acknowledges many of the midwives and birth activists working towards this historical event. My own midwife, Mary Rossi, CNM, was one, she caught my first born in 1977!

Just like birth, what is expected to go in a predictable pattern sometimes does not, but the blessing reveals itself in its own way. Kate Saumweber, aspiring midwife and excellent help to the MCCPM group here in Minnesota, and now to Naturopath and CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) Amy Johnson-Grass of Health Foundations Birth Center shares the news with the Minnesota midwifery community. Kate described the last hour decision of one of the bill's authors,

"...[B]y the hard work of our House Author, Rep Maria Ruud, our birth center language was included into the omnibus budget bill during the special session. "




Midwife Connection online newsletter published a celebratory article by CNM, Brielle Stoyker,

MN Passes Bill to License Birth Centers, Save Midwives from Reduced Payments

Brielle relayed the CNM's motives who worked so hard on the bill, "Our intention was just licensure, but because it included fiscal savings, the bill became a bit more complicated....Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) in MN are currently paid at 100% of what physicians receive for their services under Medicaid, and we would have been brought down to the 65% Medicare rate. But, because of the new federal health care reform law that will raise Medicare reimbursement for CNMs to 100% beginning in January 2011, we were able to persuasively argue that imposing a 35% reimbursement cut would be unfair and contrary to the intent of federal policy. In the process of working with legislators and lobbyists, we were able to whip up an amendment to exempt CNMs from the Medicare rebasing! On the last day of the session, both our amendment and the birth center bill were passed by both houses, and the bill now awaits consideration by the Governor. We have our fingers crossed that the bill will soon become law. For the hard work it took to get this far, special thanks go to the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), MN midwives, as well as midwives and their supporters across the US."

This is an amazing and important acknowledgment for CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) and for CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives). Working together on this project is promising that unity can expand and continue. Having a two-tiered midwife credential in this nation need not be any more confusing than having two types of physicians that catch babies, family practice and obstetricians.

In Minnesota, we believe women are smart (and men are good looking...) and can find the midwife, or doctor, for that matter, that fits their needs. We are also practical and fair. Midwives should get paid for the fine work they do. Their birth statistics are excellent overall. Hopefully, this is another midwifery statute that is a model for the rest of the nation. (Our Traditional Midwife law for CPMs is one of the very best!)

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Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.