A small rally was held at Avery Square last Tuesday morning in front of the Intercommunity Health Network (IHN) offices on 9th Street in Corvallis. Led by local midwife Liz Baer, the group was protesting against Samaritan Health and IHN’s Coordinated Care Organization for allegedly having not yet contracted with home birth midwives. IHN-CCO is the local administration responsible for managing the healthcare of eligible Oregon Health Plan members.
While the IHN-CCO administered locally by SamHealth does provide coverage for 35 licensed or certified midwives in Benton, Linn, and Lincoln counties, a source from IHN did confirm that it does not cover providers whose clients wish to have a home birth.
According to Cristie Lynch, Marketing and Communications Manager for Samaritan Health Plans, “It is our policy to require our providers to be licensed and credentialed, and the sites where the births happen to be accredited. In both cases that’s requiring some sort of insurance on the provider’s side for malpractice and on the facility’s side for liability. It’s to insure protection for the parents and the child.”
Also, it turns out that SamHealth does offer accredited, non-hospital birthing centers for IHN-CCO clients as well.
Lynch also states that there are medically necessary situations where a home birth is covered, like when babies come sooner than expected or when a person is homebound and unable to make it to the hospital.
By Patrick Fancher