The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which administers the state Medicaid/BadgerCare program, is asking the public to submit cost-saving ideas via email to help them close their $500 million budget deficit.
This is an excellent opportunity for us to begin the process of educating all of the newly-appointed policy makers at DHS about the many reasons why creating a DHS provider category to reimburse for Licensed Midwife services in out-of-hospital settings will not only save the state significant amounts of money but improve outcomes and access for low-income mothers as well.
Please forward this message to your clients, family, and friends and ask them to send an email using one or more of the talking points below, in their own words, and submit their comments to:
DHS Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades at:
It is especially important for DHS to hear from Medicaid/BadgerCare families who would have given birth with at home or in a birth center with an LM but who went to the hospital instead, thereby costing the state thousands of dollars in unrealized savings.
Please be sure to forward this email to anyone you know who was in that situation, and please email DHS about any Medicaid/BadgerCare clients you have had to turn away!
(While we are aware of the hardship that lack of access to LM services creates for Medicaid/BadgerCare families who choose to self-pay, unfortunately, that is not an issue that will move officials at DHS. Their main focus right now is on finding effective ways of cutting costs to Medicaid and BadgerCare).
Please choose one or two of these points to include in emails to DHS:
Licensed Midwives, who undergo specialized training to deliver babies in out-of-hospital settings, provide safe and cost-effective care that is proven to reduce low-birth weight and preterm births, two of the leading causes of infant mortality as well as the long-term costs associated with maternity care.
Each time a Medaid/BadgerCare mother who seeks to give birth at home or in a freestanding birth center under the care of a Licensed Midwife is denied access to her services, it costs the state thousands of dollars in unrealized savings.
Licensed Midwives in northern parts of the state are reporting that Medicaid women who have been denied their services are being air-lifted to give birth in Minnesota hospitals due to the closing of OB units in Wisconsin and the severe shortage of OB providers in many rural and low-income areas, costing the states thousands of dollars each year.
Research shows that mothers who deliver under the care of a Licensed Midwife experience as much as a five-fold decrease in cesarean surgery. Cesarean surgeries now account for over 1/3 of deliveries nationwide, many of which are both preventable and a major contributing factor to the rising costs of maternity care.
Washington State, whose Licensed Midwife program is approximately the same size as Wisconsin’s, commissioned an independent audit of the program which found that LMs saved the state $3.1 million per budget cycle while providing excellent outcomes for low-income mothers and babies.
Economist David Anderson calculated that a modest increase in out-of-hospital maternity care nationwide would save the health care system over $9 billion annually through reduced costs, improved outcomes, and increased competition in the maternity care market.
Please briefly share any personal stories you may have about how giving birth in the hospital instead of at home cost Medicaid/BadgerCare or your private insurance company additional money. Please DO NOT tell your birth story, however!
Many thanks for your support for adding LMs to the list of authorized Medicaid/BadgerCare providers in Wisconsin!