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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good News for our MN Birth Centers

The birth center bill was signed into law recently, which is a very exciting thing. But, if you are like me, trying to decipher the language of the law and what exactly that means can be a little bit of a challenge (just like I have no clue and cannot explain what my electrical engineer husband does at work - likewise he really cannot articulate exactly what goes into the day of a wife who is a nurse and takes care of critically ill children).

So, for those of you who are more savvy with legal things and want to read the bill, you can go here.

For those of us who just want to know the basics, this is what happens when the bill became law:

1. Birth Centers will have a route to become licensed in MN
2. Licensed Birth Centers have access to federal funds
3. Licensed Birth Centers have access to state funds
4. State fund spending often sets a standard for private insurance companies, increasing private reimbursement rates
5. CPMs will now be a medicaid provider type in MN! They will be paid for their work in birth centers, and this is a huge foot in the door to increase the possibility of medicaid covering CPMs in all places of birth (and private insurance covering CPMs in all places of birth).
6. We have increased awareness about what birth centers are, and what they are not.
7. We have forged a great working relationship and friendship between CPMs and CNMs in MN.

The Star Tribune also had a good article covering this news as well.

The article dicusses some of the pros:
"It's a game-changer in giving midwives and birth centers a level playing field in innovative pregnancy care," said Dr. Steve Calvin, an expert in high-risk pregnancy.

The federal health overhaul passed by Congress in March requires Medicaid to cover deliveries at birth centers, which now operate in 33 states.

And it also discusses some of the cons or barriers:
The centers must also develop relationships with local hospitals and physicians, who may be distrustful of the concept and see them as competition.

I also really like this quote from the OB who is looking to help open a birth center close to Abbott Northwestern hospital who specializes in high-risk pregnancies: "We've been taking that high-risk model and applying it to everybody," said Calvin. - He says this in reference to this previous statement: Midwives and other advocates say studies show that birthing centers are just as safe as hospitals, and provide women another option that is healthier for them and their babies.

So, as you can see, this is a very positive movement, not without work to still be done to improve the birth culture in general, but I really feel that overall Minnesota is moving in a more positive direction.

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