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August 3, 2018

Despite having some of the most advanced obstetric care in the world, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is rising.  And while data on pregnancy-related deaths are limited, we know that many are preventable.  This article details new legislation that aims to address this crisis by making mothers a priority.


Tricare Policy alert

July 30, 2018

TRICARE has made changes to their maternity care policies that are creating serious barriers to beneficiaries who seek birth center care.

AABC has been told by Congressional staff that the ONLY way to potentially reverse this new payment policy is for a large number of House and Senate legislators to reach out to TRICARE and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) regarding this decision. We must flood Congress with letters educating them that this policy does not make sense for TRICARE and will not save them money.

New barriers to TRICARE members seeking care at birth centers include:

  1. A new method of calculating payment for the services provided by the birth center facility that will reduce current payment by more than half. The new method of payment calculation uses DRG’s and equates the birth center with all its services provided to mother AND baby to a short hospital stay for birth in the hospital—which covers only the mother.  Birth centers were not notified of this proposed change or contacted for input in the plan, furthermore even contractor and WPS staff seem unaware of the change taking place. However, many birth centers started receiving the decreased reimbursement rates around May 1.
  2. A second problem is that changing policies within TRICARE now make it very difficult for beneficiaries who want to go to a birth center if their base hospital provides maternity care. We are seeing an increase in refusals to give referrals to beneficiaries for birth center care. In the past, active duty beneficiaries have been able to get around this by changing from TRICARE Prime to Standard. Now they are only able to make this change once per year or when a life changing event occurs—such as AFTER the birth of a child.

These changes in TRICARE policy do not make sense for beneficiaries and their families who seek high quality care in birth centers. They also don’t make sense for TRICARE to save taxpayer dollars.

Please write 3 or more letters to your (1) Representative and (2) Senators. You can find links to the templates below. Cut and paste it into your legislators email contact form and personalizing it with your personal/birth center information. Or fax it to them. If you have a personal contact in your Representative or Senator’s office send it to their email.

Click here to find the contact information for your senators and representatives.  Go to their websites and paste the correct letter into their Contact Us form with your birth center's information, then send.  If your Congressional office offers to help further, let us know so we can follow up with them.

Please post the consumer letter and mobilize your birth center clients (TRICARE members and their supporters) to write letters too!! Add your Senators and Representative’s name so clients will know who to send it to. Set up a place in your center for clients to send letters.

Click here to let us know you have sent letters—we are counting letters sent to measure out impact!

Thank you,
Jill Alliman, AABC Government Affairs Committee Chair

Templates:
Consumer letter
Birth Center Letter


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