Thursday, April 19, 2012

CFIM Press Release: Midwives Can Save Millions for Illinois Medicaid

Illinois Midwives Medicaid Proposal will save millions in charges to Medicaid

Coalition For Illinois Midwifery

Contact: Rachel Dolan Wickersham, President E-Mail: jiandra @
Date: April 18, 2012
For Immediate Release

While Illinois lawmakers struggle with unpopular cuts to existing services, in order to meet Governor’s Quinn’s demand for a $2.7 billion Medicaid budget cut; the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery (CFIM) has prepared a legislative proposal that reduces expenditures by expanding the types of services available to women preparing for childbirth. The proposal integrates Certified Professional Midwives into the health care delivery system and recognizes them as Medicaid providers. CPMs are so incredibly cost-efficient that even extremely low utilization rates save millions of dollars in Medicaid expenditures. Based on extrapolations from a Washington state cost-benefit analysis, use of CPMs could save the state millions in Medicaid dollars annually without eliminating any services or reducing reimbursement rates. This sets the plan apart from many other cost-reduction strategies.

Childbirth is the most common hospital diagnosis and accounts for more than 10 percent of all hospital stays. Certified Professional Midwives, who attend the majority of home births throughout the country, are the most cost-effective providers of maternity care in the nation. Cost-savings are gained primarily through the virtual elimination of facility fees. Equally important, CPMs utilize the Midwives Model of Care, ™ providing one-on-one, community-based care focused upon keeping mothers healthy; thus preventing expensive birth complications.

The five-year pilot project proposed by the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery, will allow for limited licensing of CPMs (30 licenses per year for the first three years, expanding to 50 licenses per year for the 4th and 5th years). During the first three years, the licensed midwives would serve approximately 360 families who rely upon Medicaid, reducing charges to Medicaid by approximately $5 million per year. Cost-savings for the pilot project are based on 2009 Medicaid charge data for the State of Illinois. The full report is available by request.

Twenty-seven states allow the practice of Certified Professional Midwives. About half of these states recognize CPMs as Medicaid providers. The Illinois General Assembly has failed to license Certified Professional Midwives despite a wide-spread coalition of support and 12-years of recent concentrated-efforts to pass licensing legislation.

The percentage of births covered by Illinois Medicaid has risen to 54% as the options for cost-efficient child birth services have dwindled. Illinois’ history includes a
rich tradition of providing home birth services to low income families. For over 75 years, between 1895 and the 1970s, Chicago Maternity Center served hundreds, sometimes thousands of families at home every year. Despite the general poor health and poor living conditions of these families, the adjusted maternal mortality rate for these women giving birth at home was one-sixth of the adjusted national rate (.09% versus .59%). At the time of its closing in 1974, the Maternity Center’s clientele was 50% black, 35% Latina and 15% non-Hispanic white.