The nurse midwife program at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital will continue “until a new, sustainable model is in place,” a spokesperson said late Tuesday, after the Wisconsin State Journal and other media reported the hospital’s earlier decision to end the program Dec. 31.
“Though our current midwifery model is not sustainable, SSM Health truly values women’s health and remains committed to offering equitable access to care, including midwifery services,” spokesperson Kim Sveum said in the statement. “We are in the process of exploring all options for a midwifery model that will continue to allow for in-hospital births at St. Mary’s Hospital.”
The statement said “we look forward to having meaningful conversations with area community-based midwifery providers.” On Monday, a separate statement said “some of that outreach has already started.”
However, Ingrid Andersson, one of the main community-based midwives in Madison, said Wednesday those statements are misleading.
“SSM Health as of this date has had no discussion with any community midwife regarding transitioning to ‘community-based midwifery care,’ as a spokesperson stated they would,” Andersson said. “Dean Health Insurance has a history of shutting out midwives from their provider pool and reimburses no community-based midwife in this community.”
SSM Health officials said in an internal email Friday and in a statement Monday that the midwife program, in which certified nurse midwives employed by the hospital have overseen some births since 2018, would cease at the end of the year. But officials say they’re exploring ways of using community-based midwives at the hospital. Most deliveries by community-based midwives are in homes.
Nurse midwives are available at Madison’s other birthing hospital, UnityPoint Health-Meriter.