Send Your Letters – Your Opinion Counts

A letter was presented today by North Carolina Friends of Midwives to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It is extremely important that as many people as possible write letters to Dr. Cooper and everyone cc’d in this letter in the next few days. We must make it known how many consumers in our community believe in midwifery care. This has to be taken care of NOW while the topic is fresh on the minds of those who are making decisions that affect our families. Please consider sending separate letters; the father’s point of view is just as important as the mother’s! Sending your letters both by email and snail mail is most effective, especially if enough of us do this now. Timing is extremely important. We have put together a contact list to make it easier for you to get your letters written and emails sent this weekend. The list of people below received a copy of this letter, and they need to hear from you too. Consider attaching this “Where’s My Midwife” logo as a sign of solidarity:

wheres my midwife logo

7-Aug-2009

To:

William Cooper, MD, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
New Hanover Regional Medical Center 2131 S. 17 th St. Wilmington, NC 28401

Dear Dr. Cooper,

Our organization, the North Carolina Friends of Midwives, represents thousands of North Carolinians who choose midwife-attended care in the hospital, birth center and home settings. The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the fact that the recent dissolution of the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) practice at Wilmington Health Associates has created a crisis for those women in the Southeastern region of North Carolina who would choose care with a CNM in the hospital setting. As a result of this action, women in and around the Cape Fear region have, without warning, been denied access to CNM care in the hospital setting, many of whom are in the final weeks of their pregnancy. This is an extraordinary, and unacceptable, turn of events – but we propose a simple solution. As you know, current policy at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) calls for a CNM’s supervising obstetrician (OB) to be present on-site during any labor and delivery attended by a CNM. This creates undue burdens on OBs who collaborate with CNMs, while it also increases cost without improving safety or quality, and obstructs access to Certified Nurse Midwives in our region. There is no valid justification for this. As the need for obstetric consultation and intervention is expected to be low, assuring access to CNMs is not expected to overly burden the staff at NHRMC. The negative consequences of this restriction on access to CNM services are significant. Across much of the United States, CNMs attend approximately 10% of births and considering the regional birth rate we should have a dozen, or more, CNMs accessible to the women in our region. Poor maternal health plagues North Carolina and the Midwives Model of Care is proven to improve maternal health, as do dozens of studies on the efficacy of nurse-midwifery services, particularly for vulnerable populations. Additionally, as you know, the costs of maternity care are skyrocketing, but midwifery care can substantially reduce costs. Furthermore, we assume that, as an obstetrician-gynecologist, you are opposed to home birth. Yet this policy of your hospital will surely result in an increase of home births, because denial of nurse-midwife services in the hospital will cause many women to seek midwifery care elsewhere. You may not be aware of this, but planned home birth under the care of Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) increased by 50% last year in North Carolina. Our organization fully supports this option for women and will insist upon licensure and regulation of CPMs in our State; however, women should not be forced to select home birth, or travel large distances, to enjoy the many benefits of midwife care. Policies such as these are, ironically, playing a role in the dramatic increase in CPM-attended home birth and we do not have sufficient numbers of CPMs to meet the growing demand. These are just some of the many effects caused by existing policies, such as yours, standing in the way of women in our State seeking midwifery care.

We request a meeting with you and other stakeholders at your earliest convenience to discuss your plan to address this alarming development. Please contact Russ Fawcett at 910-***-**** to set a date and time for this meeting.

Sincerely,

Beverly C. Eckard, JD, MBA, CSA, CBE, President

Victoria Brown, BSChE, CBE, IBCLC, Founder, Governor, and Treasurer

Sonya Stone, BSHA, NHA, ALFA, CBE, Vice President

Erin Henry, Secretary

Russ Fawcett, BSNE, MSNE, Legislative Committee Co-Chair, Advisory Committee, National Birth Policy Coalition

Amber Craig, MA, Legislative Committee Co-Chair

Rebecca Walton, CCE, CLA, Membership Committee Chair

Kirsti Kreutzer, BA, Public Relations Committee Chair

*********************
**The following list of people were also sent this letter and these are the people you should write to as well:

Honorable Mike McIntyre, US Congress (contact info)

Representative Carolyn Justice (contact info)

Representative Danny McComas (contact info)

Representative Sandra Spaulding Hughes (contact info)

Senator Julia Boseman (contact info)

Roy Cooper, Attorney General (contact info)

Board of Trustees, New Hanover RMC (contact info)

Wilmington Health Associates (contact info)

New Hanover County Commissioners (contact info)

Pender County Commissioners (contact info)

Honorable Bill Saffo, Mayor of Wilmington (contact info)

Wilmington City Council (contact info)

New Hanover County Health Department (contact info)

Caron Jones, CNM Chair NC ACNM (contact info)

Maureen Darcey, CNM Chair Midwifery Joint Committee (contact info)

Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel, Big Push for Midwives (contact info)

Katherine Prown, Ph.D, Big Push for Midwives (contact info)

Vicky Eckenrode, Star News (contact info)

News Room, WWAY (contact info)

News Room, WECT (contact info)

News Room, WSFX (contact info)

News Room, WILM (contact info)

*Please take the time to send your concerns. You really can make a difference.

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