That’s a wrap! After several months of negotiation, Congress finally passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill funding the federal government through September 30, 2022. Signed by President Biden on March 15, the legislation includes all 12 annual appropriations bills for the current fiscal year (FY 2022) along with $13.6 billion in financial support for Ukraine. The full bill text can be found here, and the joint explanatory statement for Division H (Labor, Health and Human Services and Labor) can be found here.

There are several “wins” for midwifery and maternal health that seek to help improve the people, families and communities midwives serve. ACNM is extremely pleased that Congress appropriated $3.5 million in funding this budget cycle for accredited midwifery education through HRSA’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) Program. This targeted funding is on its third year and is a precursor to our larger efforts to pass legislation, via the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act (H.R. 3352/S. 1697), to permanently authorize an annual funding program for accredited midwifery education programs under Title VII and Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act.
The $3.5 million represents an increase in funding of $1 million to help provide future economic support for students attending an accredited midwifery program that educate future CNMs, CMs and CPMs. This boost in funding from the previous two appropriations cycles is critical and demonstrates Congress’ commitment to investing in accredited midwifery education and helping to build a more racially and ethnically diverse maternal health workforce. ACNM applauds House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee members, Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA) for their unwavering support for investing in midwifery education and thereby increasing access to a robust and diverse midwifery workforce.

Additional information will be forthcoming from ACNM on what this boost in funding means for the current and/or future recipients (i.e., the accredited programs) of HRSA’s SDS grants. The current SDS program funded the following midwifery education programs at $650,000 per year for the past two years: CSU Fullerton, State University of New York, University of Washington, and Bastyr University. ACNM has yet to determine whether this increase in funding for 2022 will allow additional midwifery programs to apply or whether the funding will be “banked” for the next SDS “notice of funding opportunity” in 2024. Stay tuned!

Funding Opportunities for Maternal Health, Midwifery and Nursing Stakeholders within the FY 2022 Appropriations Bill Include:

• $20,000,000 in funding for the establishment of a Rural and Maternal Care Obstetric Training Demonstration. This new program would provide grants to accredited schools of allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, and nursing, and other appropriate health professional training programs, to establish a training demonstration program to support training for physicians, medical residents, fellows, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, certified nurse-midwives, relevant home visiting workforce professionals and paraprofessionals, or other professionals who meet relevant State training and licensing requirements, as applicable, to reduce preventable maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity by improving prenatal care, labor care, birthing, and postpartum care in rural community-based settings.

• $12,000,000 in funding for the establishment of a new Rural Obstetric Network Grant Program at HRSA. This program seeks to establish collaborative improvement and innovation networks to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and reduce preventable maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity by improving maternity care and access to care in rural areas, frontier areas, maternity care health professional target areas, or jurisdictions of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations. Details about this new program will be forthcoming.

• $13,000,000 for Advanced Education Nursing to expand training and certification of Registered Nurses, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, and Forensic Nurses to practice as sexual assault nurse examiners.

• $1,000,000 within the National Health Service Corps to implement requirements contained in the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, including establishing criteria for and identifying Maternity Care Target Areas and collecting and publishing data on the availability and need for maternity care health services in health professional shortage areas.

• $6,000,000 in funding for Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies, which supports grants to improve access to and continuity of maternal and obstetrics care in rural communities by increasing the delivery of and access to preconception, pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum services, as well as developing sustainable financing models for the provision of maternal and obstetrics care.

• $12,000,000 in funding for the Alliance for Maternal Health Safety Bundles (AIM).

• $29,000,000 in funding for the State Maternal Health Innovation Grants.

• 56,000,000 in funding for the CDC’s Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Programs. This funding allows for the expansion of Maternal Mortality Review Committees and Perinatal Quality Collaboratives to all 50 States and territories, and for increased support to current States and territories, as well as increased support for other programs including Sudden Unexplained Infant Death.

• $4,000,000 in funding to support the Maternal Mental Health Hotline.

• $25,000,000 in funding to conduct a demonstration program on Pregnancy Medical Homes.

• Requires a study of the impact of COVID-19 on the Rural Nursing Workforce.

• $82,081,000 in funding for the Advanced Nursing Education Program which supports the traineeships and faculty and curriculum development to increase the number of qualified nurses and APRNs in the primary care workforce.

• $51,913,000 in funding for the Nursing Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention Program, which supports academic, service, and continuing education projects to enhance nursing education, improve the quality of care, increase nurse retention, and strengthen the nursing workforce.

• $15,000,000 in funding for the Nurse Practitioner Optional Fellowship Program, which supports grants to establish or expand community-based nurse practitioner residency and fellowship training programs that are accredited, or in the accreditation process, for practicing postgraduate nurse practitioners (NPs) in primary care or behavioral health. Training specialties include Certified Nurse-Midwives and family, adult family, adult-gerontology, pediatric, women’s health care, and psychiatric-mental health.

• $26,343,000 in funding for HRSA’s Nursing Workforce Diversity Program, which increases nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing student stipends, scholarships, and preparation and retention activities.

• $108,635,000 in funding for the Nurse Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program, which supports scholarships and loan repayment assistance for nurses and nursing students committed to working in communities with inadequate access to care.

• $30,500,000 for the Nursing Faculty Loan Program, which supports schools of nursing to provide loans to students enrolled in advanced nursing education programs who are committed to becoming nurse faculty.

Please don’t hesitate to contact with any questions.