Problem and Population
It should be noted that maternal care is one of the critical areas within the healthcare industry. It strives for minimizing mortality and morbidity levels since the incidence rates are rather high in the state (Sakala, Yang, & Corry, 2013). Other crucial aspects of caring are family planning, prenatal, and postpartum care, which ensure women are offered the best of assistance through considerate attention from the side of healthcare specialists. Despite the significance of this practice area, the access of women to this type of care is not equal.
To be more precise, many women across the state, especially those that live in suburban and rural areas, have poor access to this aspect of care, which results in the negative outcomes for both females and society in general. The inadequate access to maternal care is linked to the insufficient number of specialists that can serve the diverse needs of women. According to the data, in distant locations, the mortality of women is much higher.
The evidence suggests that almost 30 women per 100000 die because of inadequate access to maternal services while the numbers for urban areas are almost two times lower. According to researchers, the problem has been intensifying since more than half of obstetrical centers were closed due to insufficient financing and women have been left with no possibility to access such service in their geographical area (Sakala et al., 2013). The purpose of this paper is to review the policy aimed at mitigating this issue and providing women with greater access to maternal services.
To address the existing problem, H.R.315 – Improving Access to Maternity Care Act has been initiated. It was introduced in 2017 and has already been actualized. The core of this Act is to disseminate effectively health care professionals engaged in maternity care (“H.R.315 – Improving access to maternity care act,” 2017).
Prior to such actions, the data on staff shortage is collected and analyzed. After the evidence has been gathered, the body decides which areas lack specialists and redistribute professionals to address the urgent needs of women. The Health Resources and Services Administration is planned to bear the responsibility for this significant task. The overall aim of the Act is to provide all females with equal opportunities to receive maternal services within their neighborhood. The goal of the project is to resolve such occurrences when females are reluctant to obtain maternity care due to the distance that exists between them and specialists.
Many authoritative bodies and legislators have been engaged in the initiation and actualization of the Act. In general, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is liable for reviewing the initiative. The sponsor of the Bill is Michael C. Burgess (“H.R.315 – Improving access to maternity care act,” 2017). The other legislators involved in the development and dissemination of the initiative are Lucille Roybal-Allard and Anna Eshoo.
APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse)
It should be stressed that the insufficient number of physicians is one of the main aspects that have resulted in unequal distribution of maternity services. The overall shortage of this category of specialists is characteristic of the entire healthcare sector, which has led to the fact that few physicians can provide the required primary care to women (Kozhimannil & Fontaine, 2013). Thus, due to the current setting, obstetrician-gynecologists are frequently referred to as this type of specialists and have to perform such functions.
During the past 50 years, the number of primary care physicians has significantly dropped, and at present, the state possesses an insufficient number of professionals, which leads to poor health outcomes. The number of such specialists is several times less compared to other industrialized countries. These factors have resulted in the impossibility to transfer professionals from one region to another since the shortage will appear in these locations as well (Kozhimannil & Fontaine, 2013).
The role of APRNs is to furnish feasible and quality primary care. Therefore, they can perform the functions of physicians to deliver maternal care to women. It is believed that APRNs will be able to meet the needs of females and assist in resolving the current issue. This category of specialists is trained to furnish primary care; therefore, they will be disseminated to areas suffering from the lack of maternity care services. Thus, the policy will be implemented by referring women to APRNs to get help. The goal of the state is to evaluate the effect of this decision and the results made in the shortage-stricken locations.
The Influence of Policy
At present, almost 15% of people reside in rural locations. However, only 6% of obstetrician-gynecologists function in these areas. Therefore, this difference evidences that the number of primary care service providers is insufficient to meet the diverse needs of women during prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum periods (Tong et al., 2012). Such problems cause poor health outcomes for both women and children.
Females tend to make less healthy and safe choices since they are afraid that they will not be able to receive the required care on time. For instance, they often opt to have cesarean section even if they there is no need for it. Thus, the Act will make sure that all women have equal access to primary care during the three crucial periods. Moreover, it will address the issue of female mortality. In general, it will encourage the overall well-being of women and their children.
In terms of the role of interprofessional teams, they will be able to ensure comprehensive care if nurses are given greater opportunities. The Act aims to expand the scope of nurse practice to ensure they can execute autonomy in decision-making. Therefore, nurses will be able to contribute to the provision of maternity care. The important aspect is that they will receive an opportunity to furnish such care without physician’s contribution (Sakala, Yang, & Corry, 2013). Thus, interprofessional teams will acknowledge that nurses can exercise autonomy and independent decision-making. In its turn, it will ensure a greater access of women to primary care due to the wider area of nursing practice.
Thus, it can be concluded that H.R.315 – Improving Access to Maternity Care Act is an essential measure to resolve the existing issue faced by the healthcare industry. The current problem of physician shortage has resulted in poor access to maternity care, which leads to increased mortality and morbidity rates in certain locations. This understaffing problem drives women to make choices that are dangerous for their health and the well-being of their child.
The Act intends to redistribute specialists across the state to address this critical issue. However, the number of primary care physicians is insufficient, and their redistribution might cause further issues; therefore, APRNs are given the high responsibility to perform their functions in maternal care. They will promote the best outcomes for women to eliminate the problem of unhealthy choices during prenatal, childbirth and postpartum periods. The role of interprofessional teams is to recognize that nurses can be held accountable for this type of care and should be given greater opportunities to exercise autonomy.
H.R.315 – Improving access to maternity care act. (2017). Web.
Kozhimannil, K. B., & Fontaine, P. (2013). Care from family physicians reported by pregnant women in the United States. Annals of Family Medicine, 11(4), 350-354.
Sakala, C., Yang, Y. T., & Corry, M. P. (2013). Maternity care and liability: Pressing problems, substantive solutions. Women’s Health Issues, 23(1), e7-e13.
Tong, S. T. C., Makaroff, L. A., Xierali, I. M., Parhat, P., Puffer, J. C., Newton, W P., & Bazemore, A. W. (2012). Proportion of family physicians providing maternity care continues to decline. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 25(3), 270-271.