Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, ARNP, FACNM
Question: What is the role of ACNM leadership in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing?
Answer: As a small, health-focused member association, it's essential for ACNM leadership to discern common initiatives of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and IOM recommendations in concert with ACNM’s FutureFocus and seven key principles for health care reform. ACNM must position itself to represent members by providing a variety of meaningful mechanisms that:
ACNM must be nimble in this financial era, prioritizing association initiatives from a member context so benefits are valued. Health reform brings an unprecedented era of patients choosing more participation in their care, implementing greater “voice and choice.” Preventive care is now recognized, which includes opportunity for increased reimbursement to midwives. As providers of primary care, it's critical that we develop member tools to enhance delivery of clinical services, improve patient outcomes, document patient satisfaction, and provide practice stability such as enhanced information technology, data collection, and expanded preventive services. ACNM must continue to engage with diverse stakeholders, advocating full integration of health reform initiatives within midwifery's scope and role.
While highlighting ACNM’s role in translating advocacy initiatives to practice, there co-exists critical need to educate more midwives. IOM’s four key messages relate to the unparalleled urgency in the future of nursing. This includes strategies that address midwifery: 1) practice to the full extent of education and training thereby achieving full autonomy, 2) seamlessly achieve higher levels of training and academic progression, 3) increase partnerships with diverse health professionals, and 4) engage in workforce planning and policy, utilizing data collection and information infrastructure.
To transform health care, health professionals must work together. Never in recent history has the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) so welcomed the opportunity to advocate ACNM’s role and presence to collaboratively improve the health of women. The Tri-Council for Nursing provided financial support for a systematic review of literature between 1990 and 2008, comparing advanced practice nursing (APN) outcomes to other providers. Findings suggest similar and even improved outcomes by APNs, highlighting care by midwives. The Affordable Care Act, IOM initiatives, and advocating for educational models advancing midwifery are important guideposts to the association, and intrinsically intertwined. It would be an honor to work beside those with similar passion, mainstreaming midwifery care for all women through the lifespan.