Although the just-passed health reform bill has generated considerable debate about abortion (see Christine’s previous post), at least two other reproductive health components of the bill are worth mentioning — provisions related to freestanding birth centers and certified nurse midwives.
We have written previously about the Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act, a bill supported by the American Association of Birth Centers. We’re pleased to report it was included in the health reform bill (section 2301 for those interested in reading the text). As the AABC notes, the reform bill includes provisions for Medicaid payment to freestanding birth centers in states where those centers are licensed.
Now that President Obama has signed the bill, it will go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which issues Medicaid rules and regulations and pays the federal percentage of Medicaid payments that states might make to birth centers.
The bill also includes a provision to increase Medicare Part B coverage for certified nurse midwife services from 65 percent to 100 percent as of Jan. 1, 2011 (section 3114).
Other relevant provisions include: coverage of tobacco cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy for pregnant women receiving Medicaid (section 4107); establishment of a fund to award grants to states to higher education institutions to enable them to establish, maintain or operate services for pregnant and parenting students (section 10212/3); and amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act to require reasonable (but unpaid) break time for nursing mothers for one year each time the employee needs to express the milk, in a private place other than a bathroom (section 4207).
Citizens for Midwifery talks more about the effects of the legislation in this release from the MAMA campaign. I, for one, am still attempting to digest all of the bill’s content. Seen any other positive reproductive health items in the bill? Let us know in the comments.