MIDWIVES FOR MAXIMIZING OPTIMAL MATERNITY SERVICES (MOMS) ACT

HR 3352 / S 1697

Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMs) Act

HR 3352 / S 1697

Introduced: May 19, 2021

This bill establishes grants within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for establishing or expanding midwifery programs at institutions of higher education and nursing schools. HRSA may prioritize funding for institutions that focus on increasing the number of midwife professionals from underrepresented groups and that promote practicing in areas with limited access to professional health care.

 

CO-SPONSORS

House of Representatives: 34
Senate: 4

 
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POLICY BRIEF

WHAT THE "MIDWIVES FOR MOMS" LEGISLATION DOES

  • The Midwives for MOMS Act establishes two new funding streams exclusively for accredited  midwifery education programs:

    • In the Title VII Health Professions Training Programs

    • In the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs. 

  • Existing accredited midwifery education programs, or colleges, universities, HBCUs or other  minority-based institutions interested in establishing new midwifery education programs  would be eligible to apply to the Health Resources and Services Administration for grant  funding that could be used for:  

    • Direct support of Student Midwives (i.e., midwifery programs would have to apply  for grant funding to attract racially and ethnically diverse students to their respective programs). 

    • Establishment or expansion of an accredited midwifery school or program. 

    • Securing, preparing, or providing support for increasing the number of preceptors at  clinical training sites to precept students training to become a CNM or CM.  

  • Funding will be prioritized for programs that effectively demonstrate during the  grant application process that will use the funding to increase racial and ethnic  representation among their student body and/or midwifery education faculty.

WHY IS "MIDWIVES FOR MOMS" NECESSARY?

  • The causes for the escalating rates of maternal mortality and morbidity are complex but include  a shortage of qualified and diverse health clinicians. To ensure that health care needs are met,  we need a robust maternal health workforce who can support people throughout their  pregnancies, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Research has shown that people  tend to do better with providers that look like them.i 

  • Culturally sensitive and racially congruent midwifery care is proposed as a solution for improving  maternal and infant health. However, there are currently too few aspiring midwives of color  entering the midwifery education programs in the United States.ii 

  • Midwifery’s future depends on the ability to attract Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of  Color (BIPOC) and to provide meaningful and fulfilling professional opportunities for these  groups.  

  • The aging of the nursing and midwifery workforce together with shifting demographics in the US  (by 2050 the US population is projected to be majority “minority”, with the working-age  population becoming more than 50 percent persons of color in 2039), and the ability to recruit  and retain talent from all backgrounds will be critical to the success and advancement of the  profession.iii 

  • Greater racial diversity in the health care workforce will help improve access to culturally  appropriate care and the quality of patient-provider interactions for BIPOC and is an important  intervention to help reduce the racial disparities that plague maternal and child health and  disproportionately affect communities of color, many of which reside in primary care health  professional shortage areas (HPSAs).  

  • Concerted efforts must be made to recruit, retain, and increase the number of BIPOC students  in midwifery education programs and increase the number BIPOC midwives who provide care in  rural, frontier, low resource, and underserved areas across the country.  

  • The cost of an accredited midwifery education is a barrier to many aspiring and prospective  midwives. Investment in federal grant funding designated solely for accredited midwifery  education programs is integral to making midwifery education a viable option for many  communities, including those who identify as BIPOC.  

  • ACNM supports current congressional legislative efforts (e.g., passage of the Midwives for  Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act, H.R. 3352/S. 1697) to increase the number the  number of racially and ethnically diverse midwives, thereby diversifying the maternity care  workforce with individuals who represent the lived and cultural experiences of the patients they  serve.