Funding for Midwifery Education Programs Included in Federal Budget Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2019
Contact: ACNM Membership & Communications
240.485.1813; [email protected]
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) has achieved a key legislative priority - federal funding for accredited midwifery education programs - with the House and Senate’s passage of the fiscal year 2020 non-defense spending package. On Thursday, December 19th, the US Senate voted 71-23 to approve the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865, as amended) which includes approved funding for the Department of Health and Human Services through September 30, 2020, following a December 17th vote by the House of Representatives. The legislation now heads to President Donald Trump for signature. Senior Trump Administration officials have indicated that he plans to sign the bill.
ACNM applauds Congress for inclusion of this unprecedented, monumental funding provision, as it represents the first-time federal policymakers have prioritized investing in increasing the accredited midwifery workforce. We especially thank the leadership of the Maternity Care Caucus Chair, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Co-Chair, Representative Jamie Herrera-Beutler (R-WA) for their work ensuring this provision remained intact during final negotiations and their steadfast commitment to improving the culture of maternal health by ensuring access to the full-range of qualified and capable maternal health providers in the United States.
“The American College of Nurse-Midwives thanks members of Congress for recognizing the critical role that midwives can play in providing high-quality maternal health care,” stated ACNM President Susan Stone, CNM, DNSc, FACNM, FAAN. “Targeting federal funding for accredited midwifery education programs is crucial to growing and improving racial and ethnic representation within our nation’s maternity care workforce. By improving access to full scope midwifery care provided by Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives we will be able to better address the significant disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes found in far too many of our communities.”
Included in the final package is a provision allocating $2.5 million in funding under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program for the nation’s accredited midwifery education programs. Inclusion of this provision in the final appropriations package represents a major step forward toward ACNM’s larger strategic priority of establishing two new permanent funding streams under Title VII and Title VIII for accredited midwifery education programs (i.e., The Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act). This is a major win for both the midwives that ACNM represents and for the US midwifery community at-large as this critical funding prioritizes students and programs who seek to strengthen and increase much-needed racial and ethnic representation within the midwifery workforce. This funding can help address the crises level maternal mortality rates and health disparities that disproportionately impact black mothers and other people of color across the country by expanding educational opportunities for midwives obtaining an accredited midwifery education.
Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the SDS program aims to increase enrollment and retention of full-time students from disadvantaged backgrounds includes students who are members of racial and ethnic groups and increase the number of graduates working in medically underserved communities. This funding will enable accredited midwifery education program to apply for funding through HRSA for their students. ACNM will be working with the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) to ensure our 38 programs are armed with information on how to access the funding in follow up correspondence.
Contact Amy Kohl, ACNM Director, Advocacy & Government Affairs, with any questions or for additional information on ACNM’s work to secure permanent federal funding for accredited midwifery education programs.
With 6500 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 education and clinical practice standards, and creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress to increase the visibility and recognition of midwifery care.