Alberta Expands Health Care Coverage To Midwifery
The Alberta government is improving access to maternity services by bringing midwives fully into the publicly funded health system. Effective April 1, 2009, expectant mothers who choose to have their babies with the assistance of a midwife will have that service covered.
"This decision will provide better access and more choice for expectant women and will relieve pressure on doctors, nurses and hospitals," said Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert. "Expanding the use of midwifery services will also help address the pressures on family physicians and obstetricians and meet the goal of introducing new service delivery models as outlined in the Health Workforce Action Plan."
With this change, expectant mothers will have access to innovative, publicly funded midwifery services in a variety of locations including hospitals, community birthing centers, or in their homes. Services will be accessible across the province, in accordance with midwifery guidelines.
The Alberta Health Services Board will receive $4 million for midwifery service implementation across Alberta in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The Alberta Health Services Board in conjunction with Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Association of Midwives will develop and establish a structure that provides full midwifery services to all Alberta women with low-risk pregnancies. This service will emphasize various options for expectant mothers; foster collaboration between midwives, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals; and create a sustainable model for the future.