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Medicaid Victory for Licensed Midwives and Pregnant Mamas in Texas!

January 20, 2012

This week, Mamas of Color Rising sent the following letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, thanking them for their decision to make a rules change that adds Licensed Midwives as health care providers under Texas Medicaid.  For more than a year, they partnered with Texans For Midwifery to collect petition signatures asking HHSC to make the change.

Once the new rules goes into effect, pregnant women are receive health insurance through Texas Medicaid will be able to choose a Licensed Midwife for their prenatal and labor/delivery care.  Mamas of Color Rising believes that all women should have equal access to the full spectrum of choices about the care they receive when they are pregnant, when delivering, and postnatally.  That Licensed Midwives will now be able to serve pregnant women receiving Medicaid benefits is an important victory toward full and equal access.

See their letter here:

Dear Mr. Millwee,

Mamas of Color Rising, an Austin-based grassroots organization of working class and poor mothers of color, would like to congratulate you and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for your decision to add Licensed Midwives as a category of health care provider under the state
Medicaid plan.   By making this change, the goals of our organization, which include increasing access for poor women of color and their families to basic needs like food, housing, healthcare, quality education and safety, are closer to becoming a reality.

For the past two years our focus has been our Birth Justice Campaign.  Through this campaign we aim to make options like midwifery care, homebirth, and birth companion (doula) support, options which currently are most available to those who have the resources to pay for them, equally accessible to poor women of color in our community.  We believe that equity in birthing options is both a matter of social justice and empowerment for birthing women, such access also leads to improved pre-natal, post-natal, and maternal outcomes for mothers and babies that can have long-lasting positives effects.  (See Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the U.S. by Amnesty International).  In addition to working with Texans for Midwifery in advancing this rules change, our Birth Justice Campaign also includes a partnership with local WIC offices to offer a free pre-natal clinic where services will be delivered by volunteer midwives (CPM’s and CNM’s )and volunteer birth companions who were trained in our Sankofa Birth Companion Project.  With each element of this campaign we are working to educate the public at large about the barriers to access the poor women of color face when they become pregnant, as well as educating poor women of color about their birthing rights and options in here in Austin.

By making it possible for Licensed Midwives to receive reimbursement for their services and for attending out of hospital births, HHSC is opening a new door to empowering Medicaid recipients to choose the type of pre-natal, labor/delivery, and post-natal care they receive.  On behalf of our organization and the women and families that we serve, we thank you.

Mamas of Color Rising considers itself a stakeholder in issues of rulemaking proceedings that involve maternal or child care in the Medicaid or CHIP program, including any rulemakings involving midwives and/or maternity care, particularly the upcoming rulemaking procedure for adding Licensed Midwives as a type of Medicaid provider and Medicaid payment for birth centers.  We request to be added to the agencies list of stakeholders for future with the contact information below.

Sincerely,

Mamas of Color Rising

mamasofcolorrising@gmail.com

(512) 524-7730

Mamas of Color Rising is an INCITE affiliate and collective of working class and poor mothers of color based in and around Austin, TX. For more information, visit their website.

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