MotherBaby Network

advocacy and commentary with a focus on Lane County, Oregon

PEBB restores coverage for out-of-hospital maternity care

At its April 20 meeting, the Oregon PEBB Board voted unaninmously to reinstate statewide coverage for home-based and birth center-based maternity care provided by licensed direct-entry midwives (LDM). LDM maternity services will again be covered at 70%. PEBB’s action restores this benefit as it existed since the 1990s under Regence BlueCross BlueShield.

PEBB board members cited the extensive research supporting out-of-hospital care (annotated bibliography) and PEBB Members for Maternity Care Choice’s efforts as key factors in the decision. (PEBB agenda and attachments)

During the discussion, Rep. Tina Kotek, PEBB advisory member, recommended tracking provider rates for cesarean section and induction. Cesarean section rates, often fueled by failed inductions, are increasingly and correctly understood to be overused procedures unnecessarily exposing women and babies to short- and long-term health risks. The New York Times recently reported on a Staten Island hospital successfully maintaining significantly lower cesarean rates through protocols limiting scheduled induction.

Tracking breastfeeding initiation and duration rates would also significantly further PEBB’s commitment to evidence-based, cost-effective care. A recent Harvard study published in Pediatrics concludes that suboptimal US rates result in significant excess cost and preventable infant mortality. More than 900 babies and $13 billion dollars would be saved annually, if women breastfed for six months.

Responding to accusations of “guilting” mothers, the study’s author recently penned an opinion piece making the case for reforming hospital practices. Like many other experts and advocates, she recommends hospitals achieve excellence in breastfeeding care through securing the Baby Friendly designation.



One response to “PEBB restores coverage for out-of-hospital maternity care

  1. kara April 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    This is great news! 🙂

    When I started to look into birthing alternatives for our most recent pregnancy, I found my “excellent” health care coverage would cover a local birthing center’s facitliy fees but not pay for any of the providers who worked IN the center… ???

    I have hopes that intelligent people like this continue to help make these important decisions and others will follow suit.

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