Lynne Himmelreich, CNM, MPH, FACNM
Candidate for Region V Representative
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: I believe ACNM leadership needs to be at the table as the regulations are written for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and needs to continue to advocate for the implementation of the IOM report, The Future of Nursing. We have a limited number of great national office staff so we need to continue to rely on the expertise of our membership to represent us at those tables. We also need to have a clear strategy for what is most important for us to focus on so that we allocate our financial resources wisely. Additionally, we need to focus on continuously educating everyone involved in this process that midwives are not all nurse-midwives, midwifery education programs are not all located in schools of nursing, and midwives are not all licensed under boards of nursing as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
There is a great opportunity for midwives to decrease the barriers to our practice with the ACA and the IOM report. We have already built strong coalitions with nursing, medical, and other organizations that we can leverage to help support our objectives. The difficulty is that we need to educate others, including our nursing colleagues, that our primary profession is midwifery. As we work with our nursing colleagues and their nursing organizations to decrease the barriers to our practice, we need to be consistent and clear that our profession is separate from nursing. Only through that continuing education are we going to be able to move forward in decreasing barriers to practice for all midwives.
Last, the ACA has many provisions that will be implemented on the federal level and many others that will be implemented on the state level. It is imperative that ACNM assists our members to understand the implications of the federal policies in their states and locally. It is important that we are able to have well-informed and productive conversations with our friends, our families, and our colleagues in all levels of health care about the way midwives fit into the system and the ways we will need to advocate for women and their families. The next few years will bring about large changes in health care. It is an exciting time of opportunity and we need to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities for improving access and quality of care for women and their families, and for showing why midwifery is the profession to provide those quality services in a cost-effective way with improved patient satisfaction.