by Lynneece Rooney, CNM, Region V ACNM Government Affairs Committee Representative
August is Midwifery Advocacy Month, which means that CNMs and CMs should start thinking about how we can advance legislation that helps improve maternity outcomes in the United States and opens doors for midwifery. Your voice may just be one of many, but it is vitally important—after all, we achieved 100% Medicare reimbursement last year thanks to the grassroots advocacy of CNMs and CMs just like you. You can make a difference!
If you’re short on time, new to politics, or unaware of who your legislator is, fear not: Whatever you can do helps, and we’ve put together a list of ways that you can get involved. The most effective way to participate is to meet face to face with your representative at your practice or their local office, as Congress is in recess for most of August. Here are four ways to make it happen. Stay tuned for even more tips in August.
1. Educate yourself about MOMS for the 21st Century Act (MOMS 21)
The “Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act of 2011 (MOMS 21),” H.R.2141, introduced to the 112th Congress on June 3, 2011 by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, will improve maternity outcomes, increase access to care, and curb rising health care costs. To learn more, visit the ACNM MOMS 21 Web site.
2. Invite members of Congress to your practice
Congress will recess from the first week of August through the first week of September. To find your Representative’s or Senator’s local office, click here and enter your zip code. Here are sample letters you can copy to invite them. During your visit, discuss the women you serve and obstacles to better care, and ask them to co-sponsor the MOMS for the 21st Century Act. See a video of a midwife demonstrating how to make the call to invite a representative for a practice visit.
3. Meet your legislators in their local offices
Click here to find your elected officials and get their contact information. You may borrow some of the language from our sample letters to request a visit, or make a phone call.
4. Capture your visit with a photograph
After you meet with your legislator or their staff, sign the photo, and return it as a thank-you gift so your legislator remembers the visit and can display the photo in his or her office.
Contact the Government Affairs Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments and remember to fill out the meeting follow-up form after your visit.
Below: Midwives meet with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in 2010.