Monday, May 18, 2009

Congressional Briefing on CPM's Thursday

This Thursday, May 21st, at 8 am, a Congressional briefing will convene at the Sewall-Belmont House, 144 Constitution Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C. The topic of this briefing is the critical role that out-of-hospital maternity care (and the Certified Professional Midwives who are trained to provide it) can play in health care reform by reducing costs and improving outcomes.

Background: A recent study commissioned by the Washington State Department of Health found that Licensed Midwives saved taxpayers and private insurers approximately $2.7 million per year. A similar study conducted for Florida would prove that number much higher. In 2007, we welcomed 239,143 babies into the Sunshine State, as opposed to 88,958 in Washington. Medicaid currently covers about 49.6% of all Florida births (37.2% of which are cesarean sections) vs. 45.6% in Washington (29% c-section rate). Using these statistics, mathematics tells me that Licensed Midwives in Florida save taxpayers and private insurers over $10 million ANNUALLY.

A joint Milbank report released last year conservatively estimates that if the national cesarean section rate were reduced from its current 31.8% to the 15% World Health Organization recommended maximum, we would save at least $2.5 billion dollars per year in government-subsidized health care alone (not including private insurance companies). As currently only 26 states license midwives, this dollar amount will only increase with greater access to midwifery care, resulting in fewer interventions.

Studies show that low-risk women who plan out-of-hospital births with Licensed Midwives have outcomes equal to low-risk women who deliver in the hospital, but with far fewer preventable, costly interventions.
  • Do you believe that Licensed and Certified Professional Midwives play an important role in our health care system?
  • Do you believe that out-of-hospital births are safe for low-risk, healthy women attended by Licensed Midwives?
  • Do you believe that our current cesarean section rates (37.2% in Florida) are too high?
  • Do you believe that our government should support an initiative that would simultaneously save taxpayers money and improve birth outcomes?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consider taking a moment over the next couple of days to contact our federal legislators (in Sarasota: Mel Martinez, Bill Nelson, and Vern Buchanan). Ask them to consider officially co-sponsoring the briefing on Thursday. Suggest that they send a 'Dear Colleague' letter to encourage Congressional attendance. Most importantly, invite them to attend the briefing, as their doing so would represent your interest as their constituent.

Please read this Call to Action from The Big Push for Midwives, including talking points and tips for speaking with legislators. Remember, they work for you. Your voice will be heard.

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