Monday, June 15, 2009

Can you spare a few for midwifery?

I just got this forwarded email from a friend and midwife in UT:

Supporters of midwives! We have an amazing opportunity to advance the availability of midwives not only in our state, but nationally.

Holly Richardson has been asked by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) to go to Washington, DC this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to lobby Senator Hatch and Congressman Matheson to get Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) on the national Medicaid provider list. These two leaders hold important positions on the committees that will make the decision to add CPMs or not, and therefore we as Utahns can play a particularly influential role on this issue.

What does this mean?

If Holly and the NACPM are successful and CPMs are added to the national Medicaid provider list, CPMs would become eligible Medicaid providers in all states, and all states would have to reimburse CPMs for their services under Medicaid. This would make midwives and out-of-hospital birth much more accessible to women who currently can't afford it, or who won't even look at it because they feel forced by Medicaid to "go hospital." Midwives would be free to choose whether of not to participate in Medicaid, of course, but at least this way it would be a choice instead of an impossibility.

If President Obama is successful in implementing some form of national/universal health care, the national Medicaid provider list will likely become the de facto list of providers under that plan also. Anyone not on that list will have great difficulty playing in the health care game. Whether you love the idea of national health care or hate it, it's passage might be the death knell of midwifery if midwives aren't included on the list of eligible providers.

If CPMs are included in the national Medicaid provider list, other private insurers are more likely to reimburse for services. They don't have to, but it does become more likely.

Even if the effort is unsuccessful in securing CPMs a spot on the provider list, there is still great benefit to sending Holly on this mission. At the very least, she can raise the awareness of our senator and congressman to the issue of midwifery, and pave the way for lobbying on any midwifery issues that may come up in the future.

Why send Holly?

Holly is in a unique position to succeed in this mission. Since she first started working on legislation here in Utah she has been working her way into other Utah politics and been unbelievably successful. She has run successful campaigns, joined organizations, started a very influential blog, become a recognized player statewide. She now has the kind of clout to ask for a meeting and GET HEARD. We can't guarantee the senator and congressman will do what she's asking, or that the committees they sit on will listen to them after she's convinced them, but she has a better shot than anyone at making it happen.

This is an amazing opportunity. We need to send her, but she doesn't have the money. The NACPM that has asked her to do this doesn't have the money to send her. We estimate that it will take $1150. That's a doable amount if we all share! Can we do it? Can we raise that in three days? I believe we can.

Here is what we need:

1. Send a check TODAY to Holly Richardson, 882 W 2800 N, Pleasant Grove, UT 84062.

We would love a large check, of course. But we'd love small checks, too. We know times are difficult, so if $5 is all you can give, we'll accept it with gratitude. It will make a difference!

Even better, WE HAVE AN ANONYMOUS DONOR who is willing to MATCH all donations up to $500. This will double your contribution! $5 will become $10, $100 will become $200. It won't take much to reach our goal if you'll all help.

Obviously, we aren't going to have enough time if everyone mails checks today to get the money in Holly's account before she leaves. But she's willing to put everything on her credit cards as long as she knows the money is coming to pay the expenses off afterwards. So,

2. Post either to the list or to me privately at and let me know how much you are sending.

This way we'll know whether we'll have enough to send her or not. If we can't get enough commitments by Wednesday June 17 for her to feel comfortable that the money will be there, she won't go and the money will be returned. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN! This is a huge opportunity, way too important to waste. I'll be posting as the commitments come in so you can see how we're doing.

If we get more than the amount needed to finance this trip, we will turn the extra back over to Utah Friends Of Midwives for the further advancement of midwifery in the state.

Come on! We can do this. Ask everyone you know who supports midwifery to send what they can. Send what you can. Make a difference. Please, please, please, send a check right now. If we fail to act, the consequences could be terrible, and the opportunity if we succeed is amazing. I believe in you guys.

Suzanne Smith, CPM LDEM

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