One of the issues for many families seeking private midwifery care is the cost of care. After many long hard years of lobbying and advocating My Midwives is very excited to announce the Medicare rebates for birth care will be significantly increased on the 1 March 2022.
The rebate increase means lower out of pocket costs for birth care and happily for midwives also provides additional flexibility for breaks during labour and birth and for the involvement of two midwives across the labour to enable better management of fatigue.
Another change is the introduction of an item to enable early labour care at home, prior to hospital admission, enabling women to be supported by their midwife at home during the early period of labour. Research demonstrates that women are better to remain at home during early labour where they want to and where it is safe to do so, and this item allows for this to occur with their midwife present.
My Midwives provides continuous care during labour and birth and these changes will ensure that the midwives are able to do this in a safer way, with the best care for mother and baby central to all the decisions about when to admit women, when the midwife will attend and what staff are best to involve where back up is needed. It will further strengthen the use of care partnerships where women know their midwife and a back up midwife to ensure a known carer is present during labour and birth.
My Midwives Managing Director Liz Wilkes was on both the Participating Midwife reference group to the MBS taskforce and the Implementation Liaison Group for these changes and is very pleased with what has been achieved and what is potentially still in the pipeline around antenatal and postnatal changes.
Unfortunately, the changes do not extend to home birth. Advocacy in this area is very difficult and whilst many of our clients make the choice to birth at home, there remains no option for a Medicare rebate for birth. This is an extremely disappointing component however lobbying and advocacy will continue in this space.
My Midwives is again proud to be at the forefront of changes to the maternity care system in Australia and believe that our work makes an impact to the clients we are providing care to now, and those who we will provide care for in the future. Our vision of continuity of midwifery care available for every woman by 2025 is still a big, but important goal and every step we make brings us a little closer.