INTRODUCING: THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT
The Foundation for Living Medicine believes that providing maternity services through a birthing center rather than a hospital will result in better service and health care for birthing mothers at a significantly lower cost. Therefore, the Foundation proposes to build a birthing center in Phoenix, Arizona, to serve as the test model or template for a national system of birthing centers, thus minimizing an economic burden on hospitals and communities.
What happens in the womb during pregnancy sets the template for the entire life of the child. Pregnancy is the period when the baby's brain develops and forms its neural pathways that contribute to the child's future behavior. As the mother/child bond grows during pregnancy, either love or fear can be set as the foundation for the child's life perspectives and behavior. Therefore, it is crucial to provide supportive services to expecting mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.
But, unfortunately, U.S. pregnancy and childbirth hospitalization expenses, which average $86 billion per year, represent the highest cost of any area of medicine.
Cesarean or birth by c-section is the most common operation in childbirth, with nearly 33% of all births in the U.S. being conducted by c-section. However, according to the CDC, many births by c-section are unnecessary and they should not represent more than 5-10% of all births in the U.S.. For example, in 1965, births by c-section in the U.S. were only 4.5% of all U.S. births, but, since then, the rate of c-section births has escalated by +28.5 points to an average national rate of 33% in 2008. In fact, in 34 states, cesarean delivery rates increased by +50% or more between 1996 and 2007. The magnitude of the increases varied. Six states (Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington) had increases of over 70% during this period. The popularity of c-section births can be attributed to two key factors: pressure on Moms from healthcare practitioners due to fear of malpractice suits if the delivery goes wrong and Mom's choice over a vaginal birth.
Generally, C-section births cost twice as much as vaginal births. According to the 2010 issue of the Childbirth Connection Newsletter, the following outlines 2008 cost comparisons between cesarean and vaginal births in hospitals:
C-Section Vaginal Birth Difference
With complications $20,074 $11,408 +78%
No complications $14,894 $8,919 +67%
source: U.S. Hospital average costs , U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Healthcare Cost and Utilization
Project, Rockville, Maryland, 2008.
Birthing center birth costs are even lower, generally half the cost of hospital births.
Although Cesarean or c-section births are popular, they are not usually the healthiest and wisest choice. Specifically, not only are they extremely expensive (approximately twice the cost of vaginal births, as noted above), but hemorrhaging from c-section operations is one of the key causes of maternity morbidity (c-section hemorrhaging, morbid obesity, and high blood pressure and diabetes).
Utilization of birthing centers would help to decrease the number of c-sections, thus minimizing an economic burden on hospitals and communities. Therefore, the Foundation believes that providing maternity services through a birthing center rather than a hospital will result in better service and health care at a significantly lower cost.
THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT
The Center for Community Advancement will consist of two components: a birthing center and a family center. It addresses significant gaps in maternity services and provides important educational programs that support and sustain families.
The Foundation recognizes that assisting with delivering healthy babies is not sufficient to ensure healthy and successful children and families. That is why it is marrying the Community Advancement Center with the Conscious Birthing Center to promote family sustainability. It is also common understanding that family sustainability impacts community sustainability.
The center will:
provide prenatal care and birthing services for up to 1,000 women per year;
contract with physicians, nurse practitioners, and midwives to provide quality care;
offer emergency care to the mother and baby until it is safe to transport them to the appropriate hospital;
offer educational programs, such as, health education, money management, nutrition, and parenting and grand-parenting programs, to the community;
work with every expectant mother to deepen the bond and further the sacred relationship between mom and baby;
work to ensure that every baby is born wanted, valued, and loved; and
maintain linguistic and cultural sensitivity to women's beliefs.
The Foundation birthing center will also stand as a community resource center that provides diverse education and information services that promote personal health and family health that leads to family sustainability. These programs will be provided to the community as a whole and not restricted to pregnant women. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have become epidemic in the U.S., overburdening our healthcare system and devastating families. These conditions are common among populations that are disenfranchised, impoverished, and under educated. By providing educational services that teach how to age into health, the community can expect to see greater productivity, a healthier population, and a decrease in health care costs. The Foundation plans to partner with local employers, mentors, educational skill centers, and community colleges to offer employment preparation and training specific to the needs of the local businesses.
The Center for Community Advancement will operate under the umbrella of The Foundation for Living Medicine. Appropriate staff will be hired to manage the day-to-day operations of the Center for Community Advancement.
RATIONALE FOR PHOENIX, ARIZONA, AS THE HOME FOR THE TEST MODEL
Phoenix, Arizona, is the proposed home for the birthing center test model for the following reasons:
It is the home of the corporate headquarters for The Foundation for Living Medicine. This will allow the Foundation staff to have direct hands-on management of the planning and oversight of the new birthing center.
According to the 2010 census, Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale is the 13th largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of 4.2 million people.
According to the 2010 census, 15.3% of the population of the Phoenix metropolitan area is in poverty. This represents a 130 index relative to the national poverty rate of 11.8%, which means that the Phoenix market has a higher level of poverty than the national average. Therefore, Phoenix will be a representative market for testing changes in quality care in low income areas that would benefit from the existence of a birthing and family sustainability center.
The Foundation for Living Medicine is seeking out and evaluating many options for the location of the proposed Birthing and Family Sustainability Center. If you have any recommendations for areas in Phoenix, please contact us at: The Foundation for Living Medicine, 4848 East Cactus Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 85254 or by calling: 480-946-4544.
We Need Your Help!
If you agree that every baby born should be loved, valued, and wanted, please help us raise $12 million to cover development, construction, and first year expenses for the new birthing center. We accept one-
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