Midwives seek rebirth in maternity care
[Modern Healthcare, 3/2//19] Pregnant women of America are in a statistically dismal place: They’re dying at higher rates than ever and facing higher odds for early births.
And these trends collide and coincide with industry business decisions that are reducing access to obstetric care. Hospitals continue to close their maternity wards, saying they are financially unsustainable—a fact reinforced by private insurers.
The slumping U.S. birth rate makes it unlikely the trend will reverse, amid a steady rise in maternal deaths tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the past 30 years.
So nurse midwives, who deliver about 9% of America’s babies, say it’s time for a change to the bedrock system of maternal healthcare, to make it better and cheaper. They also see an opening, through the confluence of issues, to make headway with the government and industry—whether it’s hospitals or insurers.
Their push highlights a paradox: Pregnancy- and-birth-related procedures in the U.S. are more sophisticated and costly than ever, but overall maternity care is breaking down.
Hospitals sometimes close their maternity wards citing excessive costs, while midwifery care is demonstrably cheaper and less likely to yield pre-term births and C-section delivery.
But hospitals profit more from costly births, in part due to lower commercial insurance reimbursement for midwifery care.
“Somebody gives you better outcomes and gets paid less,” said Suzanne Wertman, a longtime midwife in North Carolina and now vice president of the state affiliate for the American College of Nurse Midwives, or ACNM, a professional association. “So here we are, in a totally twisted world, where we are saving money. Whose money are we saving? We’re saving the consumers money, so the hospitals make less if they’re not doing a lot of C-sections.”………………..
Read the Full Article at:Modern Healthcare
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