“After I gave birth at New Birth Company, I could move mountains!”
-KCK Birth Center Mom Alumni
Question: Our client letter and the Facebook post states the Birth Center needing to close “Due to regulatory circumstances”… What exactly happened?
Answer: There isn’t a quick answer. We encourage Moms to learn more about Birth Centers, all the state regulations we navigate and our unique place in American healthcare.
Kansas Certified Nurse Midwives are required by statute to be enrolled in the Healthcare Stabilization Fund (this requires Midwives to purchase part of the malpractice from plans admitted to the market and another portion from the HCSF itself). In late spring, our malpractice insurance carrier notified us they would no longer underwrite Birth Centers and Midwives. We exhausted our options with the Healthcare Stabilization Fund and The Kansas Department of Insurance. The market simply failed to provide competitive insurance options, especially during the unprecedented challenges over the last year. Numerous factors contributed to this closure, but chronically low Medicaid reimbursement rates for Certified Nurse Midwives and Birth Centers have exacerbated it.
Kendra adds, “To all our Moms, Dads, Partners, Alumni, & Friends of Birth….I’m a KCK Birth Center Alumni myself, an original “Dotte”. Giving birth at Sage Femme in 2006 was a life changing experience and brought co-founder Cathy Gordon and I together. When our medical malpractice insurance carrier notified us that they were no longer underwriting birth centers or midwives, we were devastated. We had to purchase malpractice for the Certified Nurse Midwives through the Healthcare Stabilization Fund Availability Plan. This is a high risk pool, which costs three times as much as the normal market and has to be paid up front. NBC’s collaborative physician and primary transfer hospital is in Overland Park. It was a real possibility we could have had to close two Birth Centers. Through a clinical partnership with Clinical Director Kayla Lawrance, we were able to use the Healthcare Stabilization Fund statute to cover Facility Malpractice Overland Park. Functionally and financially, it was impossible to support triple malpractice costs, staff salaries, record supply costs due to Covid and 10 straight years of the same Medicaid reimbursement at two locations. All of these factors led to the tough decision to close the Kansas City location.”
Question: I would like to know how to support NBC. What should I do?
Do I write Congress or call somebody or email?
An easy call or email to your legislators is, “I’m not happy the KCK birth center closed. Please ask Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE), KanCare & MoHealthNet how you can help them and let me know what you find out.” Ask your legislators to be curious.
Yes! Get politically active. Start with looking up who represents you at the State and the Federal level. Send them a copy of the KC Star article. It is far more effective to send a letter or schedule a call with an assistant than sending bulk emails that get deleted. Ask for a call back from a real person. Your local Kansas or Missouri State Representatives and State Senators are much easier to reach. If you live in Kansas, call the Governor’s office. You can use the links below for assistance.
- What would it take for the KCK location to reopen?
The Mercy and Truth Medical Missions (MTMM) Board (the Safety Net Clinic that owns the Wellness Center including the Birth Center Facility) is considering its next steps. New Birth Company strongly supports reopening the KCK Birth Center. We aren’t giving up. We are meeting with KDHE and Medicaid Administrators to address the problems that caused us to close. We need the Healthcare Stabilization Fund and the Department of Insurance to innovate and offer more affordable malpractice options to support small businesses. We need Medicaid to pay us more than 75% of the Provider Fee Schedule and a lot more than $1295 per birth.
- …is there a possibility Overland Park will close too?
While we were able to keep Overland Park open, we learned we can’t take natural childbirth and Midwife-Led Birth Centers for granted. All of us who know the power of birth must demand that Kansas, Missouri Medicaid and Employer Sponsored Insurance pay Women for what we are worth. If you work for a big company in Kansas City, it’s time to lean in for Women and Birth Equity. Does your Human Resources department and its benefits plan support Midwives and Birth Centers?
- …No really, I want to get involved right now. What can I do?
August 10, 1-3pm State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas Bob Bethel Medicaid Oversight Committee
- Plan to show up in person. It matters. Check it out, are you represented by one of the Members of the Committee?
- If you can’t go, all Moms & Dads, Families & Friends can send written testimony in support of the Birth Center to Marisa.Bayless@klrd.ks.gov Put “Support of Midwives & Birth Centers” Cc firstname.lastname@example.org on your email. We will print off a copy of your testimony and take it with us !
- Kansas Moms, if you are covered by KanCare, and are willing to give testimony in person, email email@example.com and tell us you are interested in giving testimony in person. We will follow up with you.
- All Moms and Families, if you want to make sure you are getting the latest and greatest on more ways you can “move mountains”, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “KCK Birth Center” in the subject line.