Return to Learn > Professional Resources and News Releases > News Releases > Midwives, Ob-Gyns Support Bill to Address Maternity Care Provider Shortage to Provide Pregnant Women With Greater Access to Services Where They Live (April 3, 2014)

For Immediate Release
April 3, 2014
 Damaris Hay, ACNM
 [email protected]


 Kate Connors, ACOG
 [email protected]



Silver Spring, MD and
Washington, DC
 - The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly support legislation
introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives that addresses the
maternity care provider shortage and helps many pregnant women and their
families, particularly in rural or underserved urban areas of the country, get access
to the maternity care provider services they need.

The bill, Improving
Access to Maternity Care Act
, (H.R. 4385) introduced
by Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX-26th) and Congresswoman Lois Capps
(D-CA-24th), would establish a health professional shortage area designation
for maternity care under the Public Health Service Act, similar to shortage
designations already established for primary care, dental and mental health. The
goal of this legislation is to identify and address areas of the U.S. that are
experiencing significant shortages of full scope maternity care professionals,
including certified nurse-midwives and other maternity care providers. This legislation will also make it possible
for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to place eligible
professionals within the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) in eligible
medical facilities - including hospitals, birthing centers, and other
appropriate facilities - in these areas to address maternity care shortages.

Expanding access to maternity care professionals in
underserved areas can reduce overall maternity care costs in the U.S. by
ensuring women have access to necessary prenatal care and delivery options.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor
Statistics, in May 2012 27,000 health professionals reported that they were
actively providing maternity care services (5,710 certified nurse-midwives and
20,880 obstetrician-gynecologists).[1] The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates that there were 3,952,937 births in the U.S. in 2012.[2]

"It is clear that
shortages of maternity care professionals exist in the U.S. and the situation
is getting worse with significant numbers of retiring professionals," said Ginger
Breedlove, CNM,
PhD APRN, FACNM, President of ACNM.
"Nearly half of all U.S. counties have no midwife, ob-gyn, or other
maternity care professional." 

pregnant women have to travel long distances to see a maternity care
professional, it is not only difficult for women and their newborns to access
necessary prenatal care and delivery options, but also creates safety concerns
for the mother and her baby," Breedlove said.
"The bill Rep. Burgess and Rep.
Capps introduced today will help to address these concerns and hopefully
improve maternity care outcomes." 

"Every woman deserves access to basic health care rights,
including annual well-woman health care, preconception health, and reproductive
health. But this requires access to women's care professionals, including
ob-gyns," said Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, President of the American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "We
believe that investments in women's health are investments in America's future,
and applaud Reps. Burgess and Capps for their efforts to improve the American
women's access to care."


About the
American College of Nurse-Midwives

The American College of Nurse-Midwives
(ACNM) is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives
(CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the United States. ACNM promotes
excellence in midwifery education, clinical practice, and research. With roots
dating to 1929, our members are primary care providers for women throughout the
lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and
reproductive health. ACNM provides research, administers and promotes
continuing education programs, establishes clinical practice standards, and
creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress to
increase the visibility and recognition of midwifery care. Visit
www.midwife.org for more information.

About the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the
nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a
private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 57,000
members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women,
maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education
of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its
members and the public of the changing issues facing women's health care. The
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6)
organization, is its companion organization.

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2012. Note that these figures do not include self-employed providers.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Report, September 2013.

American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd. Ste. 1230 Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240.485.1800 Fax: 240.485.1818
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