The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
This brief but well-referenced post analyzes cesarean rates relative to differences in maternal diagnoses or pregnancy complexity. On average, the likelihood of cesarean delivery for an individual woman varied between 19 and 48 percent across hospitals.”
Birth attendants often claim that their high cesarean rate is due to their clientele - that they provide care for a lot of high-risk clients. This analysis shows that:
Among lower risk women, likelihood of cesarean delivery varied between 8 and 32 percent across hospitals.
Among higher risk women, likelihood of cesarean delivery varied between 56 and 92 percent across hospitals.
Hospital variability did not decrease after adjusting for patient diagnoses, socio-demographics, and hospital characteristics.
This shows that practice variation in cesarean rates is real, substantive, and not just a reflection of the mother’s risk level.
Tips for Choosing a Care Provider - great overview! from Henci Goer
It is always a good idea to make sure you have all the basic data about
the claims that were filed.
Ask your midwife for a copy of the spreadsheet with all the filed claims You will need this to keep your sanity as it will help you to know which claims have been paid and how much was paid for each claim item. Every claim item should include:
Here is the comprehensive approach:
I am writing to appeal insurance claims that Blue Shield has denied; these are claims for care surrounding pregnancy and birth and for a newborn baby. Attached please find a complete list of claim items that need to be reprocessed, allowed and paid.
My midwife says that in her experience, Blue Shield of California eventually covers all of the charges associated with her services at a homebirth. She says there is a typical demonstrable and unjust payment pattern: Blue Shield initially denies all but the basic fee for the birth "procedure", 59400 or 59409.
She reports that if she uses 59400, then Blue Shield denies everything else, claiming that it's all included in the "global routine OB care" code. (Yes, Blue Shield uses this excuse to deny claims for home postpartum visits at 24 and 48 hours and all claims for newborn care, including lab fees for the Newborn Screen. Everyone knows that 99% of birth attendants who file claims with this code make do not routinely make home visits in lieu of postpartum hospitalization and do not routinely provide newborn care.)
My midwife says that if she uses 59409, then Blue Shield denies everything else, claiming that she filed the wrong code. In fact, 59409 is the code that best describes the basic service of a homebirth. Midwifery care for a homebirth is totally different from global routine OB care and is properly described using 59409 for the one hour around the time of birth and then separately detailing all the non-routine care provided to the mother and baby.
This non-routine care includes direct face-to-face contact with the laboring woman throughout labor, providing all of the hands-on assessment of maternal vital signs and fetal heartrate patterns as well as providing all of the comfort care for the laboring woman. This non-routine care further includes three to six hours after the birth, which is universally recognized as the minimum time medically necessary for a woman to be cared for in the immediate postpartum recovery period. This goes beyond the typical "global routine OB care" of extracting the placenta and suturing.
That is why 59409 is the proper code to describe the birth "procedure", and all the rest of the care provided is described precisely.
California law requires insurance companies to cover all medically necessary care during labor and birth and for 48 hours afterwards for both mother and baby. All of these claims were medically necessary for the well being of mother and baby.
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, was the only licensed provider involved in this birth, and no hospitalization was required. There will not be any additional claims filed by another birth attendant or a hospital for charges related to this birth.
To date, Blue Shield of California has paid only $__________ to Veronica G. Falcao, LM MS, for the care provided to the mother, and $__________ for the care provided to the baby, and $_________ for the specialty supplies and rented equipment necessary to conduct a safe birth.
In the past year, Blue Shield of California has eventually paid all of the claims for births attended by Veronica Falcao, LM MS, but they have previously required multiple rounds of interaction with the member/subscriber, denying for various reasons. Then the member/subscriber has filed a complaint with the California Insurance Commissioner, and then Blue Shield of California has eventually paid all the claims.
You can look in your records for the details of these past cases. This pattern of denial of claims for medically necessary care around a homebirth is in violation of CA Health and Safety Code 1371.37(a) and (c).
If I have not received complete payment for these claims within two weeks, I will place a followup phone call, wait two more weeks, and then I will file a complaint with the California Insurance Commissioner regarding Blue Shield's violation of state law by engaging in an unfair payment pattern.
I look forward to a prompt and satisfactory resolution of this appeals
You can argue point for point on individual claims.
Dear Review Board:
I am writing in reference to insurance claims surrounding my pregnancy and birth that Blue Shield has denied.
All of the claims for <baby> were denied. These included well baby visits and time immediately after the birth that had she been born in the hospital would have been performed by a pediatrician or nursing staff. The claims should not be considered included in the global obstetrical care because they were for care of the child, not the woman giving birth.
All claims for <mother> outside of the global obstetrical care were denied. The care went beyond this code. There were complications monitored during pre natal visits such as <list your complications here.> Specifics can be found in the attached medical records. Also, time during labor and delivery would be outside of this code. In the hospital, monitoring during labor would have been performed by nursing staff and not the obstetrician. Since this was not a hospital birth, the midwife performed monitoring outside of the global obstetrical care code. Post-partum claims were also denied.
Licensed midwives are not contracted with Blue Shield, but are paid at in-network rates. <Midwife> is a licensed midwife who provided this care.
Thank you for your time,
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