Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So proud of Susanne

So a week or so ago Su was watching local TV news and saw this very short story that said that the DC Birth Center (part of the The Developing Families Center) was in danger of closing unless emergency funding legislation was passed by the DC City Council early the next week to help with their incredibly high malpractice insurance bill. For those who don’t know, the only other two nearby area birth centers closed this spring because of the exact same issue.

We are big proponents of natural birth and believe all women who don’t want to have a hospital setting and prefer natural birth with midwives either at home or in a birth center should have that option. And just as importantly, the DC Birth Center is the major health facility for many, many low income women in DC. The midwives can either “catch babies” at the center in a birthing room or at Washington Hospital Center where they have privileges, so the flexibility of choice is another great feature of this place. (Most midwives think that it’s the moms who actually deliver the babies—sounds about right to me.)

The midwives at the DC Birth Center are awesome and they accept all patients regardless of ones ability to pay. The fine care afforded to women there improves birth outcomes and saves the government a lot of money by simply being proactive and preventative. The thing I like most about this place is the community based experience we had. All pregnant women are grouped with other women due around the same time, so from early on in a pregnancy, everyone comes together monthly to learn from the midwives and each other, before branching off to their individual appointments. It is a very cool model.

Anyway, Susanne saw this little news piece, immediately contacted the director of the clinic and offered to help in any way possible. I guess her social worker/advocacy/moral outrage sensors kicked in.

The director wrote back that she really needed help getting a message crafted and out to get people to write to their DC Council members and time was of the essence. The emergency legislation (co-sponsored by our local council member since the center is in our ward) was asking for $300,000 as a stop gap to solve the short term problem. Without this influx of money the Center would in all likelihood have to close immediately. This shortfall is not for lack of planning. It’s due directly to skyrocketing malpractice insurance costs that seem to be out of control. As I understand it there may be a way for several medical clinics to collectively address this for future, but this emergency legislation was being proposed because this had become a true emergency—threatening the existence of the Center.

Dang if Susanne didn’t write this awesome template for people to use to contact their council member. She ran it by the Director and then she got it out via e-mail to tons of people we know and asked them to forward it. She got it out on a bunch of list serves. It started spreading like crazy as apparently it struck a chord for many. In addition past and current patients at the center were asked to sign the letters for delivery to their Council members.

Apparently a lot of people followed up and sent letters (we were cc'd on several and it was really touching to see what people wrote when they learned that the center was in danger of closing.) I’m very happy to report that the director called our house last night to let Su know that the legislation PASSED. And several council members wrote her this morning thanking her for her letter to them and letting her know that it passed.

That was cool. Anyway, I guess I’m just trying to say I’m really proud of Susanne. She’s always makes everything better. Not just for me and Danny. For everyone.

This picture was taken about an hour after Danny was born.
We'll always be grateful for our midwife Lisa from the DC Birth Center who was with us every step of the way.

No comments: