A Call for Greater Cooperation Between Ob-Gyns and Midwives

Jim Kling

May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 — In a joint statement, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) called for evidenced-based practice and greater cooperation between obstetrician-gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives.

The statement, entitled "Joint Statement of Practice Relations between Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Certified Nurse-Midwives/Certified Midwives," was released April 1. It highlights the importance of communication, working relationships, and seamlessness in maternity care and other women's health services. The joint statement is part of an ongoing ACNM and ACOG initiative to promote collaborative practice between the 2 professions, as also reflected in ACOG's 2011 Issue of the Year, "Successful Models of Collaborative Practice in Maternity Care,"

"Health care is most effective when it occurs in a system that facilitates communication across care settings and among providers," according to the joint statement. It emphasized that mutual respect and trust are critical to good working relationships that help ensure high-quality care.

The statement also suggests that cooperation between obstetrician-gynecologists and midwives can help narrow the gap between the availability of obstetrician-gynecologists and the increasing demand for women's healthcare services.

Obstetrician-gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives should be able to get affordable professional liability insurance coverage, hospital privileges, and similar levels of reimbursement from private payers and government programs. They also should be able to get support services such as laboratory testing, obstetrical imaging, and anesthesia.

The 2 groups affirmed shared commitments to:

  • supporting evidence-based practice;

  • promoting the highest standards for education, national professional certification, and recertification;

  • determining accredited education and professional certification preceding licensure to be essential to ensure skilled providers at all levels of care across the United States;

  • recognizing the importance of options and preferences of women in their healthcare;

  • determining that obstetrician-gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives must have access to affordable professional liability insurance coverage, hospital privileges, equivalent reimbursement, and support services to establish and sustain viable practices; and

  • determining that obstetrician-gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives must have access to a system of care that fosters collaboration among licensed, independent providers to ensure the highest quality seamless care.

"As a result [of the joint statement], access to health care will be greatly improved," stated ACOG President Richard N. Waldman, MD, FACOG, in a news release. "By strengthening the way our independent professions work together, we believe that we can more effectively provide the highest quality care that women expect and deserve," adds ACNM President Holly Powell Kennedy, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN. "We anticipate that this historic document will usher in a new era of enhanced cooperation between our professions."

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