Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birth Centers


November 17, 2008

Please Help U.S. Birth Centers
Birth centers are in jeopardy of closing due to an impending change in Medicaid policy. Birth centers have been recognized by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Medicaid providers since 1987. Recently, however CMS has directed its regional offices to stop federal payments to any state for birth center services. Recently, CMS has disallowed such payment by several state Medicaid Agencies, including Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington State, and other states WILL follow! This action puts pregnant women at risk of losing access to safe, high quality maternity care!

Please Act Now!

Each and every one of you CAN take action to put birth centers on the Congressional radar. AABC's lobbyist Karen Fennell is busy making Congressional visits, but they are saying they have not heard from you--so it must not be important . . .The birth community must take the lead on this--Congress won't take any action for us unless it hears from its constituents.

Right now, Rep. Susan Davis (CA) will sponsor the bill and Rep. Lois Capps (CA) will co-sponsor, but we need many more--including Republicans so it has bi-partisan support.

Call your Representatives and Senators!

To find out who they are use these links:

Find your Senators - http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm Find y our Representatives - http://www.house.gov/ - use the tool in the upper left hand corner

The American College of Nurse-Midwives also has a tool on their website -http://capwiz.com/acnm/dbq/officials/?lvl=C

Tell them you are a midwife, staff person or client, neighbor, or supporter of birth options, of a birth center that cares for Medicaid women, and you want to let them know that birth centers are a needed service, and deserve to receive reimbursement! Other birth centers have already closed due to lack of facility reimbursement.

On the House side, ask Democrats to co-sponsor our bill which would add Birth Centers to Medicaid covered services. (Our bill does not have a number yet). Ask House Republicans to be a sponsor or lead. On the Senate side, we need leads and sponsors in both parties.

Please notify Karen Fennell (karenfennell50@yahoo.com) of your calls. Provide her with the representative's name, the staff person's name, and any questions or information she should be aware of.

This is urgent if we want to sustain birth centers in the United States. Please call today. Remember, this is important to the survival of ALL birth centers we are working for--we need 50 calls this week! Please also pass this on to anyone you know who has had or would like to have a baby in a birth center! Thank you for your support!

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