Saturday, March 19, 2011

Legislative Update - Capital Testimony

The following is a testimony that was presented jointly by Midwives Association of Florida and Florida Association of Birth Centers last week to the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. FFOM endorses this testimony and encourages your support of these allied organizations.

Good Afternoon Chairman Hudson and Members,

In this tough budget year I am glad to have the opportunity to share with you a good investment. Birth Centers are an investment that has a high PE (price per earnings) ratio. - A licensed midwife and a birth center is the perfect combination for a healthy birth outcome. The State of Florida in its wisdom has recognized the need to utilize prenatal funds more efficiently and to increase the limited availability of care providers. Families view midwifery services in a birth center as a quality, cost-effective alternative to traditional physician hospital births.

The Florida Health Finder lists over 20 free standing birth centers that are located th
roughout the state. As you are aware prenatal providers in some counties are scare.
Presently a birth center is reimbursed by Medicaid an average of $2,000 per birth. A hospital birth would cost more than double the cost. At this time Medicaid pays for 10 prenatal visits. Birth Centers promote optimum care – they encourage the pregnant woman to start prenatal care at 10 weeks and goes to 42 weeks of pregnancy. That is a total of 16 visits.

Did you know that Birth center service also offer additional free services to their clients and at no cost to the taxpayer?
  • Initial and ongoing diet evaluation and nutrition guidance. We know how important it is for the pregnant mother to be healthy during her pregnancy.
  • They offer exercise for pregnancy, birth and postpartum -a birth center offers. This could lower the incidence of post-partum depression.
  • Child Birth Classes – not only do they educate the pregnant mother what to expect during her pregnancy. Provide awareness to parents to put their baby to sleep on their back to reduce SIDS.
  • Parenting and infant care classes
  • Baby Safety Education.
  • Breastfeeding support – research shows breastfeeding reduces infant illness; babies are healthier, which saves the Medicaid dollars in visits to the physician.
  • Breastfeeding also has long-term health benefits:
  • Reduced incidence of diabetes, heart disease, childhood obesity……

And last but not least – importance of family planning and baby spacing.

All of this for $2,000.

Most birth centers use a formula of 1/3 Medicaid, 1/3 self paid and 1/3 private health insurance. Some birth centers have 50% or more Medicaid patients. A proposed 20% reduction of an average of $400.00 per patient would cripple the fiscal health of a birth center. Many would be forced not to see Medicaid patients in order to keep their door open.

We are aware of the budget climate and I hope this information will be valuable you continue to craft the budget. Let us know a good investment when we see one!

Thank you for listening and your dedication to our state and our soon to be born citizens.

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