Amend Proposed LA Medicaid Rules for Freestanding Birth Centers!
This petition had 1,148 supporters
Summary: Louisiana families suffer some of the worst birth outcomes in the country. We should be expanding access to quality, evidence-based care; not limiting it! Join us in telling LA DHH and LA Medicaid that YES we want Medicaid to reimburse birth centers but NO we do not want these two unnecessary regulations that will limit access to care.
The Details: Louisiana DHH Bureau of Health Services Financing has proposed regulations that will establish coverage and reimbursement by Medicaid for Freestanding Birth Center (FSBC) deliveries. This is good and we want regulations to be set and for Medicaid to cover freestanding birth center care and deliveries. BUT, two of the proposed regulations would severely limit midwifery and freestanding birth centers in Louisiana, making it almost impossible for the NOLA Birth Center- New Orleans' first FSBC- and other birth centers to open doors.
1. Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are excluded from these regulations, meaning they will be unable to receive Medicaid reimbursements for birth center deliveries. These rules violate the federal law that all birth providers receive the Medicaid professional fee for the same rendered services. This is a matter of professional access: LA licenses CPMs and the State cannot prevent a licensed practitioner from practicing. This is also a matter of accessibility: with these regulations, even fewer patients will have access to birth center care. This will mean that LA birth centers will be unable to hire Certified Professional Midwives (even for cash-paying clients). The majority of birth centers in the U.S. hire Professional Midwives - 61%). Here in Louisiana, we already lack enough midwives to serve the families who need them; by removing CPMs from practicing at FSBCs, we will worsen the shortage of quality care providers for birthing families. Help us tell DHH that Louisiana needs more quality care providers, not less!
2. Birth Centers will be required to hire a physician as Medical Director. This requirement has been demonstrated to severely limit the number of birth centers that open and sustain operations in the country. The American Association of Birth Centers, argues "it is neither necessary nor appropriate to require this of an FSBC." Especially in areas of limited resources (like Louisiana), very few physicians are available to take on this position and most birth centers cannot afford this additional cost.
Birthmark has been organizing and fundraising for the last three years to open Nola Birth Center- New Orleans' first FSBC. This will be one of only two FSBCs in the state. To date, we have made huge strides towards opening doors to provide much-needed services to our community. But, these regulations would make it nearly impossible for us to open.
These regulations affect the majority of Louisiana families, as close to 70% of births are Medicaid-eligible in our State. Louisiana families already suffer some of the worst birth outcomes in the country. We should be expanding access to quality, evidence-based care; NOT limiting it! Join us in telling LA DHH and LA Medicaid that YES we want Medicaid to reimburse birth centers but NO we do not want these two unnecessary regulations that will limit access to care.
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