Mairi Breen Rothman, CNM, MSN
Candidate for Region IV 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: When I was asked to write an essay about the role of ACNM leadership in the implementation of two very important actions, I sat down to do almost 1000 pages of reading. The IOM Future of Nursing report and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are loaded with opportunities for midwives. And yet, most of us will never have the time to read them and fully understand their implications for our profession, and so opportunities could pass us by.
A crucial role of ACNM’s leadership in terms of these documents and others like them is to be a conduit of digestible information. We must ensure that members are briefed on the opportunities they provide, and that government and health care agencies and the public are briefed on the vital role midwives should play in implementing them. Midwives “in the trenches” who don’t have time to read 1000 pages of policy still need to know what the policy means to their profession. Also, we need to be sitting at the table when government and health care agencies make decisions. They need to know that midwives provide high-quality health care at a budget price, with superb outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction—in short, midwifery offers a perfect model for where the country needs to go! As Patrick Cooney, our ACNM lobbyist, likes to say, “if we are not at the table, we risk being on the menu.”
The IOM report points out that while physicians are licensed to practice any specialty they choose, and are therefore licensed to do more than they can actually do, CNMs/CMs are routinely licensed to do less than they are competent to do, and the amount of “wasted professional assets represented by this disparity is striking.” Combining the IOM report and the ACA, we see recommendations for policy change and funding to help make those changes happen—this synthesis is where ACNM can play a role in moving our profession forward.
Finally, ACNM leaders must increase outreach to membership, so that members have ample opportunity to guide us in the directions they choose as we move forward into uncharted territory. As a candidate for the Board of Directors, I bring 17 years of legislative and policy experience combined with continuous clinical experience in home, hospitals, and birth centers. I would gratefully use these to serve my beloved profession at the national level.