Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

MS Legislature 101

Contacting Legislators 
The Number 1, best way to communicate with a legislator is to meet him/her IN PERSON.  If that is a little intimidating, you can always go with a MS Friends of Midwives Board Member.  We have "Capitol Days" regularly during the legislative session.

Second best - Mail a HANDWRITTEN letter to their attention at:
   P. O. Box 1018
   Jackson, MS 39215 

Lastly is email/facebook message/phone call - Personal and brief emails make a better impact more than mass emails.  Capitol switchboard, just ask for the legislator you are calling for.  They may transfer you or take a message.  (601) 359-3770
Click here to find your personal legislator

Who to contact and when
Contacting the Representative and Senator that represent you is a good place to start.  However, there are many other legislators that play and important role and need to hear from you.  Click here to see how a bill becomes a law

In 2012 we have the bill being introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate simultaneously.  The bill is assigned to the Public Health and Human Services Committee in the House and the Public Health and Welfare Committee in the Senate.  The Chairmen and members of these committees hold a lot of power.  The Chairman will decide IF the bill will be discussed at all.  If brought up for discussion, the committee will vote on whether or not the bill will be sent to the entire House/Senate for a vote.  Changes can (and most likely will) be made in the committee and again when before the entire house.

So, it is important the the Chairman of each committee is contacted by YOU to let him know you care about this bill and want it passed.
Here is the contact info for the committee members.

What to say
Speak honestly from your heart.  Tell them that you support the "Midwife Standards Act" and why.  They won't really expect you to know the details, but if they ask something you don't know the answer to, don't be afraid to say you don't know.  Your opinion is still very important.  MS Friends of Midwives is at the capitol enough that the legislators know they can come to us for answers or to discuss concerns.

Click here to learn a few of the "talking points" that seem to come up regularly with the legislators.


2012 Health Committee Members

Capitol switchboard, just ask for the legislator you are calling for.  They may transfer you or take a message.  (601) 359-3770

Mailing address:
   P. O. Box 1018
   Jackson, MS 39215 

 House of Representatives: Public Health and Human Services,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Sam C. Mims, V, Chairman
Toby Barker, Vice-Chairman
Brian Aldridge
Cecil Brown
Kimberly Campbell Buck
Bryant W. Clark
Mary H. Coleman
Carolyn Crawford
Becky Currie
Dennis DeBar
James Evans
George Flaggs, Jr.
Eugene Forrest Hamilton
John W. Hines, Sr
Joey Hood
Kevin Horan
Bobby B. Howell - no email
Hank Lott
Brad Mayo
Kevin McGee
Tom Miles
Bobby Moak,
John Read
Randy Rushing
Bobby Shows
Jeffrey C. Smith
Jessica Upshaw
Percy W. Watson
Linda Whittington

Senate: Public Health and Welfare,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dean Kirby, Chairman
Hob Bryan, Vice-Chairman   no email
David Blount
Terry C. Burton
Nancy Adams Collins
Merle Flowers
Hillman Terome Frazier
Alice Harden
Josh Harkins
W. Briggs Hopson III
Gary Jackson
Kenneth Wayne Jones
Rita Potts Parks
Willie Simmons
Tony Smith
Melanie Sojourner
Gray Tollison
Bennie L. Turner
Brice Wiggins,

What is the Midwife Standards Act?

Licensing Midwives in MS is a Step Forward for Public Safety

Currently, lack of state legislation allows the practice of midwifery without any training or skills assessment. Because surrounding states require licensure, Mississippi has become an asylum for unsafe midwives.

The Midwife Standards Act allows midwives who have earned the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential from the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) to become Licensed Midwives and provide out-of-hospital maternity care for healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies.

NARM certification requires a rigorous educational and training process including a clinical internship, with a senior member of the profession, taking a minimum of 3-5 years to complete and a national board exam. Continuing education is a requirement for recertification.

CPMs have written practice guidelines and transfer protocols. With passage of the Midwife Standards Act, Licensed midwives will operate within regulations set forth by the Mississippi Licensed Midwifery Board.

Each year, more families are choosing home birth and hiring midwives as their maternity care provider. According the MS Department of Health, midwife attended birth has increased by over 400% between 1996 and 2010 (15 and 62 births respectively). A recent study reported that nationally, home birth has increased 20% from 2004 to 08.

The average cost of a midwife-attended home-birth is about one-third to one-half the cost of a doctor-attended hospital birth, including all prenatal care.

27 states have passed laws authorizing midwives to practice (including TN, FL, LA and AR), not one has rescinded it’s program. A growing number of states (13) have added licensed midwives as a Medicaid provider, including Florida. In 2010, Congress passed a bill to extend Medicaid coverage to CPMs in a birth center. Federal legislation is pending to extend Medicaid coverage of CPMs in any setting.

Home Birth with a qualified care provider is safe. Research consistently shows that lowrisk women planning home births with CPMs have better maternal outcomes, equal infant outcomes, and fewer costly interventions, including a five-fold decrease in cesarean section.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Push Party 2012

Push Party 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 
11:00am until 3:00pm
Galloway UMC
305 N. Congress Street, Jackson, MS 39201

  • You're Invited!

    Push Party 2012 is a kickoff to the MS Legislative session - an opportunity for our families to come together for fun, food and learning.

    Whether you are an active supporter or just learned about MS Friends of Midwives, we would love to see you at this party.

    We will meet at the Galloway UMC in Room 401-402. Children welcome. Potluck lunch will be served.

    11:00 Making Goody Bags
    12:00p Midwifery in MS Roundtable
    12:30p Getting to Know Your State Government
    2:00p Visit to the Capitol Building

    What to Bring:
    * Please bring apples, oranges or granola bars (healthy snacks) to contribute to our "healthy" goody bags for legislators.

    * A dish or snack to share with the group.

    * Or, just come as you are.
    If you are unable to bring the items above, please don't let that keep you from joining us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Honor Your Midwife

We are Honoring Midwives this Christmas.

Thank you for your dedicated service to families and the exceptional care you provide all year long, even during the holidays.  Your sacrifices are appreciated.

MS Midwife Jazmin Price, $10 was donated in your honor.

MS Midwife Donna Mitchell, $10 was donated in your honor.

AZ Midwife Maryn Leister, $10 was donated in your honor.

SD Unnamed Midwife, $10 was donated in your honor.

LA Midwife Emmy Trammell, $20 was donated in your honor. 

TN Midwifery group: Kim Mosny, Melissa Stallings, Martina Benson and their apprentices Corinne Jackson and Missy Padgett, $25 was donated in your honor.

MS Midwife Norma Clark, $75 was donated in your honor.

MS Midwife Renata Hillman, $95 was donated in your honor.

Make a donation to MS Friends of Midwives in honor of YOUR Midwife and we will send her a beautiful hand written Christmas card letting her know how appreciated she is.

The midwife who receives the most donations in her name will be treated to "Christmas Dinner on Us" including home made dessert.

Midwives provide longer prenatal visits, more childbirth education, and support from early labor all the way through postpartum care and all for less money.  They make sacrifices to provide this level of personal care.  During the Holiday Season, as we pull our children close and celebrate the joys of family, midwives are providing that exceptional level of care.  Undoubtedly, babies are born on Christmas - and midwives are there to care for those mothers and babies.

Tell your Midwife how much she means to you by making a donation in her honorAll donations will be used to support the mission of promoting midwifery as a safe and legal childbirth option in Mississippi.

Click on the "Donate" button to the left to say Merry Christmas - all donations, no matter how small are greatly appreciated. The winner of the "Christmas dinner" will be determined based on donations made by midnight, December 19, 2011.  If there is a tie, the winner will be chosen at random.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Part 1: Midwifery in Mississippi

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know about
Mississippi Friends of Midwives

Part 1:
Midwifery in Mississippi
Midwives have been caring for women during pregnancy and birth since the dawn of time, so everyone has heard the term. However, many don’t know how midwives fit into the modern maternity care system or why an organization exists to support midwives.

The broadest definition of a Midwife is a woman who provides health care for women. Laws and practices of midwives vary greatly around the world. Let’s focus on Mississippi.

Much like the rest of the United State, we have two types of midwives working in our state.

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are Registered Nurses who have continued their education to specialize in nurse midwifery. The vast majority of CNMs have no training or experience attending out of hospital birth. They are required, in MS, to work with supervision from a physician. We have several CNMs in the state. They work closely with Obstetricians and deliver babies in hospitals. In many other states CNMs have more autonomy from physicians and are able to care for women planning a home birth. MS Friends of Midwives agrees that MS families could benefit from improving regulations for CNMs. However, this is not our primary focus.

More and more women in Mississippi (and across the country) are choosing home birth and (for the most part) they are being cared for by direct entry midwives (DEMs). See the data below from the MS Department of Health Vital Statistics Reports

Number of Births attended by a “Granny Midwife” (AKA Direct Entry Midwife)

2010: 62 2007: 40 2004: 43 2001: 33 1998: 21

2009: 61 2006: 47 2003: 41 2000: 28 1997: 11

2008: 46 2005: 36 2002: 35 1999: 31 1996: 15

“Direct entry” simply means NOT a nurse midwife. Generally, the midwife is the primary care provider throughout pregnancy, the labor and delivery, and postpartum care (more about this later). Mississippi law states that midwives are “exempt” from medical practice laws.

Why does MS Friends of Midwives exist?

Mississippi Friends of Midwives is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting midwifery as a safe and legal childbirth option for women and families throughout the state of Mississippi. We are a group of consumers and supporters of midwifery, we are not a professional organization for midwives.

There has been an effort by lobbying groups to make direct entry midwifery illegal. In 2010 legislation was passed in the House of Representative (HB695) which would have limited the practice of midwifery to nurse midwives only. This would have made direct entry midwifery illegal and left homebirth families with no legal options for hiring a care provider. This legislation was the catalyst for the “birth” of MS Friends of Midwives. Fortunately, midwives and their clients flooded the capitol with calls and emails and the bill was not brought up for a vote in the Senate.

MS Friends of Midwives supports legislation that would legally recognize direct entry midwives through the process of issuing Licenses. This legislation would require direct entry midwives to obtain the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential from the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) to provide out-of-hospital maternity care for healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies. NARM certification requires a rigorous educational and training process including a clinical internship that takes a minimum of 3-5 years to complete and a national board exam. Continuing education is a requirement for re-certification.

Licensing provides a mechanism for families choosing home birth to verify their midwife’s credentials. NARM’s grievance process will provide some protection for families from midwives with known unsafe practices.

27 other states legally authorize CPMs to practice—some for more than thirty years—and not a single one of those states has rescinded its program.