domingo, 19 de julio de 2009

Open Letter to the ACNM Board of Directors and Executive Director

Think together, no.

Pull together, yes.

-Michelle Ellsworth

TO: Open Letter to the ACNM Board of Directors and Executive Director

FROM: Geradine Simkins, CNM, MSN, MANA Board President

RE: ACNM Opposition to Federal Recognition for the CPM

DATE: July 16, 2009

I am a CNM and a member of the ACNM and I say very emphatically—not in my name! I do not support your recent decision to publicly and aggressively oppose the efforts of a broad-based coalition of six national midwifery and consumer organizations to seek federal recognition of the Certified Professional midwife. Your position, to me, is indefensible.

Lack of Evidence

For an organization of professionals that values evidence, we find it inexcusable that you have chosen an action that the evidence does not support.

  • There is not evidence to support your claim that the majority of CPMs are not properly qualified to practice.
  • There is no evidence to support the position that CPMs in general have poorer outcomes than CNMs or CMs.
  • There is no evidence to support the position that CPMs trained though apprenticeship and evaluated for certification through he Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) of NARM have different outcomes than CPMs trained in MEAC-accredited schools.
  • And there is no evidence to support the notion that a midwife with a Master’s Degree has better outcomes than one without that level of higher education.

The evidence we do have on the CPM credential indicates that the midwives holding this credential are performing well, have good outcomes, and are saving money in maternity care costs. The growing number of women choosing CPMs suggests that women value the care provided by CPMs. If research in the future demonstrates that the PEP process is not safe or is not cost-effective, then that is the time to reassess and restructure the process.

Differing Values

We, as midwives, have values that underpin our professional practice. We cherish and honor those values. You have stated that your board made its decision because ACNM strongly values formal standardized education, and opposes federal recognition of CPMs who have not gone through an accredited program. We can accept that you strongly value standardized education. However, we strongly value multiple routes of midwifery education for a variety of reasons.

There is something important, powerful and valuable in a training process in which the student midwife or apprentice is educated in a one-on-one relationship with a preceptor and her clients in the community, as opposed to the tertiary setting where student midwives don’t follow women throughout the childbearing year, and may never experience continuity of care or individualized care. In addition, by preserving multiple routes we are able to educate more midwives, not fewer. We need more midwives! If health care reform were to turn around and adopt the midwifery model of care as the gold standard this year, we could not possible supply “a midwife for every mother”.

Impact of Taking a Stand

By publicly and actively opposing federal recognition of CPMs as Medicaid providers, in addition to taking a stand about formal education, you are also taking a stand (willingly or inadvertently) for decreased access to midwifery care, diminished choice for women to chose maternity care providers and place of birth, and restricted access to the profession by potential candidates. Is it worth it to sacrifice several things that you value, just so that you can take a stand for one thing that you value? Is it possible for you as an organization to value something, but also realize that it is not the only valid way? Is it possible for you to respect the diversity of pathways to midwifery that the CPM represents? It does not require the ACNM to sacrifice its own standards. It simply requires the ACNM to respect the standards of another part of the profession of midwifery.

Disingenuous Claims

It is disingenuous of ACNM to state in its Special Alert to ACNM Members on July 15, 2009, “ACNM’s decision to oppose this initiative followed unsuccessful attempts by ACNM and MAMA Campaign leaders to reach a compromise that both organizations could support…” There was no formal process or interaction, no back and forth negotiations, no attempt at collaboration that occurred between ACNM leaders and MAMA Campaign leaders. There was one phone conversation in which the ACNM representative stated that there was only one compromise that they would accept: federal recognition only for gradates of MEAC-accredited programs. While there are multiple educational paths to achieve it, the CPM credential embodies a single standard body of knowledge and experience. It cannot be split into parts. Therefore, the MAMA Campaignis promoting all CPMs to receive federal recognition as Medicaid providers, not some CPMs. There is no room for compromise when one side gets everything they want and the other side does not get what they want at all.

It is also disingenuous to suggest the World Health Organization (WHO) document sets a standard that has been embraced around the world. In fact, the WHO developed global standards for midwifery education without the input of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), an international partner of the WHO. The majority of members of the task force that developed the standards were not midwives. There was not widespread input regarding the document. In response to this oversight, the ICM passed a resolution at the June 2008 Council meeting in Glasgow Scotland (I was there!) to develop global midwifery standards. A task force has since been convened and all member organizations (which includes MANA and ACNM) will be able to give input to the standards developed by the ICM. Generally, when the ICM develops a document that might supplant an existing WHO document (as was the case in the international definition of a midwife), the ICM document is eventually incorporated by the larger international community. This will be a long process and any new document will not be ratified by ICM until the next Council meeting in 2011.

Lack of Vision

What offends me as a CNM, an ACNM member, a member of the MANA/ACNM Liaison Committee, and the President of the Midwives Alliance is the lack of vision that your decision represents.

Why not embraces diversity and support innovation? Why not bring the turf wars to an end? Why not unite under the banner of midwifery and the values that we share in common? Why not set aside our differences and recognize that we are all midwives? Why not recognize that the work we do is more important than the credentials we hold? Why not support one another within the profession, because diversity is our strength not our weakness?

What We Do Matters

The healthcare debate has been in progress in Washington DC for over a decade. But never before has the possibility of real change been so promising as it is now. Now is the time when we may have a real opportunity to impact changes in maternal and child health care that will have long-lasting affects for mothers, infants, families and communities. Women deserve high quality maternity care, affordable care, and equal access to care. Women deserve a variety of maternity care choices in providers and place of birth. Vulnerable and underserved women deserve to have disparities in health care outcomes eliminated, and they deserve to have barriers removed that limit services, providers and reimbursement for maternity care.

Expanding the pool of qualified Medicaid providers to include CPMs will help address the plight of so many women around the county who receive poor quality maternity care or do not have access to care at all. We need to lower the C-section rate and increase VBACs. We need to lower infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the US. We need to offer women the opportunity to believe in their bodies again and to give birth powerfully and in their own time. We need to welcome babies gently into the world. We need to give the experiences of pregnancy and birth back to families. We need to support women to breastfeed and help shelter the process of maternal-infant bonding. These are the real issues. These are the things we deeply value. Midwives are the solution that can address each of these vital issues. For all midwives and midwifery organizations to be united under this banner is what is really important, not a continuation of turf-war battles that distract us from reaching our common goals. We do not have to think together; but we must pull together!

In Conclusion

I repeat to you—not in my name. As an ACNM member, your actions this week do not represent what I value, what I hope for, and what I work untold hours to achieve, nor do your actions represent what my Board of Directors values. I have written this letter at the urging of my Board of Directors. There are 14 members of the MANA Board —seven CPMs, four CNMs, one CPM/CNM, one CM and one DEM; truly a cross-section of the midwives that practice in this nation. What we stand for is diversity, tolerance and unity among midwives and within the profession of midwifery. What we advocate and work for is a midwife for every mother, in every village, city, tribe and community in the country and across the globe.


Geradine Simkins CNM, MSN, President

MANA Board of Directors

Maria Iorillo CPM, 1st Vice President

Christy Tashjian CPM, 2nd Vice President

Angy Nixon CNM, Secretary

Audra Phillips CPM, Treasurer

Pam DyerStewart CPM, Region 1

Regina Willette CM, Region 2

Tamara Taitt DEM, Region 3

Sherry DeVries CPM, CNM Region 4

Elizabeth Moore, CPM, Region 5

Colleen Donavan-Bateson CNM, Region 6

Dinah Waranch CNM, Region 9

Cristina Alonso Midwife, Region 10 Mexico

Michelle Peixnho CPM, Midwives of Color Section

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario