To our birth center clients, friends, and supporters
The birth centers of Minnesota need your help to ensure fair payment for the care we provide!
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently released a proposed updated Minnesota Uniform Companion Guide (MUCG). The MUCG is a document published by MDH that helps clinics correctly bill for care they provide. In turn, it also helps insurance companies know what claims to expect from those clinics.
There is a BIG problem with how this guide explains birth center billing that impacts reimbursement we receive from insurance companies. The birth centers of Minnesota have been working with insurance companies for a long time to fix the problem with no success. However, we now have an opportunity to have our voices heard loud and clear because the proposed MUCG is currently in a public comment period.
Here’s some background on the problem and why it matters to us:
In 2010, a state law was enacted to allow birth centers to legally operate and bill insurance companies for the care they provide. At first, there was a lot of confusion over how that billing was supposed to happen. Birth centers were on their own to negotiate contracts with insurance companies, but we did it!
Several years ago – with limited input from birth centers – a section was added to the MUCG to “help” facilitate birth center billing. Unfortunately, this section says that birth centers should not be paid for the use of the facility by babies born at the birth center. While insurance companies don’t have to explicitly follow the guidance of the MUCG, many do which significantly reduces fair payment to birth centers for services delivered.
This information in the MUCG is misleading and contrary to the medical practices of our birth centers. When a baby is born at the birth center, they are a second client. We have equipment, medication, supplies, additional staff, and training that is all specific to newborns. Some companies say that because birth centers do not have a nursery, they should not receive the facility payment. The problem with that argument is that most babies at the hospital don’t use the nursery! Many hospitals allow, and in fact favor “rooming in”, keeping the mother and baby together in one room. They are still reimbursed for the facilities offered to the newborn, while birth centers are not.
Ultimately, we need these newborn facility funds to help us keep our doors open and to help you bring your beautiful babies into this world. The newborn facility charge is critical funding that preserves an out-of-hospital option for so many families.
Here’s how you can help:
Please help us tell MDH that the MUCG as written is not acceptable. We’ve included a sample letter here that details what needs to change. It has a space for you to put your own comments in about your experience at the birth center and what it meant to you. You are also welcome to draft your own letter! We believe if enough of our birth center clients, staff, and supporters send this letter or one like it to MDH they will take notice and will make a change.
- Send a letter in WORD format (MDH’s preference for public comments) by 4:00pm Wednesday, August 26
- Preferred: Submit via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
– OR –
- By mail: addressed to Susie Blake, Minnesota Department of Health, P.O. Box 64882, St. Paul, MN 55164-0822,
– OR –
- Fax to (651) 201-3830
Thank you for your support!
~ The MN Chapter of the American Association of Birth Centers, including:
Health Foundations Birth + Women’s Health Clinic
Minnesota Birth Center
River Valley Birth Center
Roots Community Birth Center