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Midwives to Lobby Congress For Medicare Reimbursement Equity


SILVER SPRING, Md., June 13 -- Midwives from dozens of communities across the country will be meeting with their legislators on Capitol Hill this week in support of an increase in their Medicare reimbursement rate -- certified nurse-midwives receive only 65 percent of the physician reimbursement rate for comparable services.

Legislation introduced would wipe out a reimbursement inequity that denies access to midwifery providers for women with disabilities, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

The lobby day is part of ACNM’s 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting this week in Washington.

The legislation, titled the “Improving Access to Nurse-Midwifery Care Act,” (HR 872 and S 911) was introduced by Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) in the House of Representatives, and by Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) in the Senate.

The primary effect of the legislation, addressing the reimbursement inequity, was the focus of a Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) report in June of 2002. In a unanimous vote, MedPAC recommended to Congress that the percentage of Part B reimbursement for CNM services be increased. In this same report, MedPAC also stated that research shows the quality of care and outcomes for services provided by CNMs are at least comparable to obstetricians and gynecologists.

Medicare covers approximately 3 million women with disabilities that are of childbearing age. These women give birth to approximately 50,000 infants annually within the program. The legislation will pave the way to allow women with disabilities to choose a midwife as their health care provider and enable more women access to a midwife for well-woman and other primary care services throughout their lifecycle.

Midwives from all across America will lobby their Members of Congress and Senators on Tuesday afternoon, June 14, before joining together to honor legislators supporting the Medicare legislation.


MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: Media representatives are welcome to visit with midwives while they visit their legislators on June 14, and attend the congressional reception. For more information on how to be connected with midwives from communities across the country while they are in Washington, call Tim Clarke, ACNM Communications Manager at 240-485-1821 (office) or 301-814-2678 (cell).

Visit this news release online at: and learn more about ACNM’s 50th Annual Meeting by visiting the recently-revamped Web site at



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