Alberta could save $7 million dollars a year by offering more maternity care options for families | April 24, 2015
Alberta needs to increase access to midwives by revising the funding model and address concerns ofunderserved rural populations where even fewer maternity care options are available.
Alberta women are forced to birth in ways that stretch the finances of the health care system and create inefficiencies. Women need choices about where, with whom and how to birth. The funding model must adapt to ensure maternity dollars follow mothers and babies, not caregivers. Maternity care provided by midwives must be more widely recognized as an essential service and should be funded under Alberta Health, not Alberta Health Services.
With funding under Alberta Health Services, there is an artificial limit to how many mothers are able to find midwifery support; many women are on wait-lists and must find alternate, and often less preferable, means of giving birth. In rural areas, women have even less access to midwives.
Midwives reduce the patient-care load of busy obstetricians who are in great demand for high-risk births and mothers with health concerns. Midwifery offers the option of home births for low-risk women, freeing up space in crowded hospitals and providing the greatest cost savings to the provincial health care budget.
Midwives currently deliver 4% of the babies in our province, compared to BC and Ontario where this number is much higher at 14 to 16%. Based on a $1200 cost savings for a midwife-assisted birth, and the approximate 56,582 babies born in 2013/2014 in Alberta, the Alberta government could save $7 million dollars by breaking down silos between Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.
Birth is a life-changing event that impacts the lives of families and society as a whole. More options in maternity care ensure healthy families and a healthy society that feels safe and supported in a progressive Alberta, making it a province of choice for families drawn to its quality of life.
Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (ASAC) and the MaternityCare of Alberta Network (MCAN) are working together on a Maternity Care Campaign by creating a petition, a letter for consumers to send to their election candidates, a survey for candidates, as well as a video to educate Albertans on maternity care options.
ASAC Action plan: www.asac.ab.ca
MCAN Action plan: www.maternitycarealberta.com/election-campaign.php
Contact: ASAC VP External Dana Weatherhead, 780-887-0725, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: MCAN President Nicole Hill, 780-994-3209, email@example.com