Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Da Nerd Press

Thanks to all who came to my reading last Saturday. It was great to be back in Cambridge briefly. Special thanks to Brian Foley for inviting me to read along with Justin Marks & Heather Green. And another special thanks to Janaka Stucky for hosting the afterparty and Elisa Gabbert & John Cotter for allowing us to crash in a spare bed. Thank you Boltbus, for stopping at Arbys, although I'm not sure why you had to drive through NJ to get to Manhattan. And thank you Arbys, your $1 value milkshakes are definitely worth $1.

Things move quickly. Episode #9 is here:

little movies of

Dorothea Lasky | Joshua Beckman | Aaron Kunin

Srikanth Reddy | Magdalena Zurawski | Graham Foust

Suzanne Buffam | Catherine Theis | CAConrad

Brandon Shimoda | Lauren Levin

Get down with them.


Below is a note from Rachel Zucker I thought I should pass on:

Dear Friends and Family,

I very rarely send requests like this around, but this is very important to me and to many, many women and those who support women. Please take this small step to support midwifery and, by extension, the health of women and children in New York State.

The first, very simple step, is to sign this petition supporting the Midwifery Modernization Act.


This petition requests that written practice agreements between midwives and physicians no longer be a requirement for licensing. It may seem like a small thing, but the written practice agreement requirement is actually a serious threat to midwifery in New York State and to women's health.

Women and families benefit from midwifery care. The Midwives Model of Care focuses on wellness, individualized care, support and health education. Taxpayers benefit from improved outcomes and the lower short and long term costs. We need the Midwifery Modernization Act to pass, so we can have more access to more midwives in more settings and removing the Written Practice Agreement (WPA) will remove the key barrier to that access.

Midwives have been licensed in NY State for over 15 years, providing excellent care when possible with terrific outcomes for mothers and babies with lower rates of medical intervention and lower costs. Midwives are skilled healthcare providers with extensive training in maternity and newborn care as well as well-woman care. A key component of their training is knowing when to refer patients to or consult with other appropriate providers, which they do often and not always with the provider with whom they have a written agreement. Unfortunately, this requirement that midwives have a written practice agreement (WPA) that outlines their scope of practice serves as a barrier to practice for many midwives and a barrier to access for many consumers. This is especially a problem in rural and underserved areas. The written practice agreement does not involve direct supervision of the midwives by doctors, but makes the doctor responsible for the scope of practice under which the midwife practices - increasing the physician's liability risk and giving individual physicians control over the scope of practice of midwives. While midwives are required to have a written practice agreement, doctors are not required to sign them. The also gives physicians the capacity to keep competitors from practicing.

The WPA is an inappropriate requirement; it would be like asking every pediatrician to have a written agreement with a pediatric surgeon in order to practice pediatrics. Doctors are licensed professionals who refer to specialists when necessary. So are midwives. Midwives should not be required to maintain practice agreements with physicians in order to be licensed or maintain their licenses. Please send a strong message to our legislature that you support midwifery as a critical and fundamental part of health care for women and children.

Supporting midwifery is the most important thing you can do to support safe, normal childbirth and to support women's health across the lifespan.

If you are willing to do more than sign the petition, great!

Other things you can do:

Please contact your legislators--

* Call your legislators - Tell the staff person who answers the phone: "I am one of [title/name] constituents, and I want [him/her] to support the Midwifery Modernization Act [appropriate bill number]." Provide your name and contact info if requested. You can also add more info if you feel comfortable doing that or have time. Not sure who they are or how to reach them? Here's how to find out who your legislators are and get to their web pages with contact info:

Senator (Bill # S5007) - Go to www.nysenate.gov/ and enter your address and zip into the Find My Senator box.
Assemblymember (Bill # A8117) - Go to www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ and enter your zip code into the Member Search box.

* Send a letter to your legislators with a copy to the Sponsors in each chamber (see above) and a copy to NYFOM. You can see an example on the Buffalo Birth website (www.buffalobirth.com), though personal letters are most effective and stories of loss of access are particularly compelling.

* The Chairs of the Higher Education Committees in both houses in particular need to hear from consumers. Since the Senate is currently in chaos, simply address the letter to “Chair” for that body. You can get info about committees at the links for each chamber above.

Please talk to physicians who are supportive of midwifery--
Ask any physicians you know who are supportive of midwives but may not want to sign agreements to write a letter to the sponsors to that effect. Copies of those letters should be sent to Patricia Burkhardt in care of NYS Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM)

Please do whatever you can to support midwives. To learn more conatct:
NYS Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM): www.nysalm.org
Citizens for Midwifery (CfM): www.cfmidwifery.org
Choices in Childbirth: www.choicesinchildbirth.org
Childbirth Connection: http://childbirthconnection.org/

Thank you for your help,
Rachel Zucker

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