FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2016
CONTACT: Clare Lynam, 240-485-1826
Leading Midwifery Organization Applauds House Passage of Maternity Care Provider Shortage Bill
American College of Nurse-Midwives Urges Senate Enactment
Silver Spring, MD – The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) today applauds the US House of Representatives on its passage of the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act of 2015 (H.R.1209/S. 628), introduced by Representatives Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX) and Lois Capps (D-CA) and Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
This legislation would direct the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to identify areas of the country with shortages of maternity care providers, including certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and Ob-Gyns. CNMs and Ob-Gyns who currently participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) would be placed in those areas, under this bill, in order to fill the gap in coverage and ensure women’s access to this essential care.
“ACNM congratulates the House for its passage of this critically important legislation and urges the Senate to follow suit soon, so we can send a bill to the President for his signature before the end of the year,” said ACNM Board President Lisa Kane Low, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN. “It’s a travesty in this country that 40 percent of counties have neither a CNM or a CM (certified midwife), nor an Ob-Gyn, yet millions of women live in these areas. Shortages of maternity care providers can result in long waiting times for appointments and/or long travel times to prenatal care and birthing sites, resulting in inadequate care for pregnant women. Midwives are ready and prepared to fill the gaps in access that currently exist, particularly in rural areas of the US. As maternity care providers, we can help alleviate the significant pressures on communities and health systems, and can serve the growing number of women in our population.”
With nearly 7800 members, 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.