MAY 2020 | Newsletter
California Nurse-Midwives Association
Annual Meeting Update
Hello midwife community! We wanted to acknowledge that it remains unclear if holding an Annual meeting in August will be a healthy decision. We are looking at options including a virtual meeting or simply pushing the timing of the meeting to next year given we will all need community coming out of 2020 and this pandemic.
Please know we are looking at our current contract and seeing what our options will be. We will be fully transparent on our decision making, refund decisions and scheduling moving forward. We know many of us look to this meeting with excitement to connect and learn with one another and we acknowledge that changing this is disappointing.
I look forward to sending out more information once we have it and connecting with everyone once it is safe to do so. Thank you all for your continued work caring for pregnant people and their families during this very different time. Stay safe and well.
Work Group to Support the California Nurse Midwifery Foundation
Want a fun, low impact way to contribute to advancing access to midwifery care, diversification of the midwifery workforce, and promoting anti-racism and reproductive justice in maternity care in California? Come support the brand-new California Nurse-Midwives Foundation by joining our working group to support the foundation board. We are a lean group and want to make sure we have more eyes, ears, and hearts participating in review of funding requests and grant proposals. No prior foundation experience required, we only have 1 short monthly meeting per month, and a huge contribution could be made by just giving us 2-5 hours per month of your time. Please reach out to any of the foundation board members Kathleen Belzer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ana Delgado (email@example.com), or Kavita Noble (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or to express interest!
Attorney General’s Request for outreach about barriers to abortion care
The office of Xavier Becerra, the California Attorney General, reached out to CNMA to inquire about medication abortion and barriers to access during COVID-19. Because medication abortion (specifically, mifepristone) carries the FDA "REMS" designation, patients must be seen in person to have an examination in order to get the medication. The Attorney General of California led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting that they increase access to reproductive healthcare, including safe and legal abortion, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition urged the Administration to waive or utilize its discretion on enforcement of its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) designation, which impedes women’s access to the medication abortion with Mifepristone, so that Telehealth can be better utilized for prescribing of mifepristone. They reached out to us to ask for any specific examples/experiences of barriers to treatment for patients who desire medication abortion during COVID-19. Please contact Holly Smith at email@example.com if you have concerns or have experiences you would like to share.
Join the CNMA Board
CNMA has two NEW Board positions and the Treasurer position that are open for election. Please see below and reach out if you are interested.
In 2019 CNMA renewed our bylaws and created two new BOD positions. The goal is to have members on the board who can speak to concerns, issues and needs faced by specific communities of midwives or the communities that are served by those midwives. Additionally CNMA is working toward increasing the board skill set around reproductive justice and anti-racism work.
To that end, CNMA is looking for two new board members from communities whose voices are under-represented on the CNMA Board of Directors, including but not limited to folks who identify as BIPOC, disabled, LGBQ and Trans, Rural, Poor, Home-birth and/or Birth Center midwives.
If you identify as being from one or more of these communities and can speak to the needs and issues faced in your community, please join us! You can read more about the position below. If you have questions/want to learn more please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Apply for the two BOD positions or the Treasurer position:
Please provide your email and bio to Ali Young email@example.com to be included in our ballot.
Application Deadline 5/25/2020
Bios and info on candidates go out: 6/1/2020
Voting begins: 6/10/2020
Voting Closes: 7/25/2020
Announcement of new BOD members: 8/1/2020
Introduction of new BOD members: 8/28/2020
You can see the CNMA Bylaws here and the descriptions for for all of the BOD roles here.
We continue to work very hard behind the scenes. In March, BOD and HP leadership conducted a virtual "Lobby Day" with many key Senators, and we continue to meet with key stakeholders regarding proposed amendments to our bill. The legislature is not set to reconvene until at least May 4 and we still do not know how bills will be prioritized at that time. However, Senator Dodd has been clear that SB 1237 is one of his priority bills, and in fact an essential bill during COVID-19. As we close in on May 4, it is critical that you submit your letters of support for the Business & Professions Committee as soon as possible! This means, you, physician colleagues, patients/clients, RNs, and any other supporter. Sign on letters are all located at https://www.cnma.org/sb1237, now available as a simple Google Form with easy instructions! We are also working hard on obtaining letters of support from organizations. Please let us know of an organization we should reach out to for support. Contact Kathleen Belzer, CNMA President Kathleenbelzer@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Governor’s Executive Order
On 3/30/2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released an Executive Order ’To facilitate the continued provision of care to individuals affected by the Covid-19 outbreak...' As part of the Executive Order, waivers may be filed with the Department of Consumer Affairs to address healthcare workforce issues during the pandemic. We filed a waiver for temporary removal of physician supervision and outlined that this is necessary in order to:
reduce unnecessary work for MDs in the hospital setting (reduce redundant work, such as signing charts, confirming pharmacy and discharge order, etc) so that they can focus on COVID support.
ensure that no freestanding birth center/home birth practice is forced to stop practicing. We focused on the current high demand for community birth and highlighted that MDs may be inclined to give up the added burden of CNM supervision in the community setting due to higher than usual workload for them at this time.
ensure that "midwife to midwife" help can continue without unnecessary barriers, e.g., if a CNM in the out of hospital setting needed to quarantine, this would effectively shut down their practice unless support/help from other midwives was easily obtainable.
We are waiting to hear back from the Department of Consumer Affairs and will inform you as we have information to share.
Kathleen Belzer, CNMA President
Holly Smith, CNMA Health Policy Chair