Sister midwives, you have my apologies ahead of time for the trouble this will likely cause you in an already tough time. I am acknowledging this first and foremost and accept your rightful anger if it comes. I admit that this action will cause AzDHS to investigate all of us midwives even more, it will likely make them very angry, and it is not in the least bit professional that I am suggesting it. However, it seems that AzDHS is already on a witch hunt. Midwives are being regularly cited for ridiculous violations of rule, such as seeing a client at 6 weeks and 1 day postpartum or being told to terminate care if a client misses and appointment or does not want a blood test. We are all being investigated, no one is immune. Playing nice or taking the high road doesn’t make much sense anymore.
OK, consumers, midwives, students, home birth advocates – want to know one thing you can do right now? This will only be effective if A LOT of you are willing to work very quickly starting this weekend, because once the AZ Department of Health (AzDHS) catches wind of it on Monday, they will likely shut it down. They have already indicated that they know fabricating data is easy on this form. Apparently, the department has mentioned to several midwives that the are not capable of handling multiple false reports. In the end, if this works, they will look like asses and be incapable of keeping up. This requires a fair amount of naughtiness and I’m not sure if it’s legal or not (haven’t been able to find any reason it is illegal, but I am not a lawyer – if you are worried about the legalities, you might skip this one.) But, for those of you who are willing it just might shift things a little bit.
Remember in this post when I talked about some of the issues with the current survey monkey midwife reporting form in Arizona? Well point number two in that post made me think of stealing someone’s idea that just might make the AZ Department of Health pay attention. Thank you to AzDHS for pointing out at that “training” that this kind of action would rile them. Thank you to the midwife who thought of this and spoke it aloud at a meeting a long time ago. I hope you don’t mind…
What to do:
- Go to this link and print out a list of all the licensed midwives (LMs) in Arizona. Using real midwives names and license numbers is important.
- Go to this link and familiarize yourself with the midwife reporting form. (Here is the training guide if you need it.)
- Read the tips below before you start.
- Spend as much time as you have from this point forward filling out reporting forms.
- Write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of reports you submitted and the date(s) submitted so we can get a rough idea of how many total.
Some important tips (please read these!) and things to remember:
- Every time you start, commit to filling out a form for every LM in AZ, that way no one midwife will carry the brunt of the response from this action. There are 67 midwives on this list (it isn’t quite up to date, but that’s okay we will spare the newer midwives).
- As stated above, using real midwives names and license numbers is essential. AzDHS will simply toss out any reports that contain obvious fake midwife info.
- Get together with a friend, or 5, or 10. Make a party of it. The more numbers participating in the shortest time possible, the better.
- Do not worry at all about understanding midwifery. The form is not that complicated and you do not need to know any technical information. Just fill in the blanks and check boxes.
- For each report, make up a new “client or chart number” (question #4). If you use the same number over and over, AzDHS will catch the pattern.
- For each report, vary your responses. Make them all abnormal in a minor way, but don’t be too outlandish. Not every midwife needs to suddenly attend twin births for VBAC moms. Just do simple things to flag reports such as making the end date of midwifery services more than 6 weeks past date of delivery or transferring to the hospital for some reason.
- Don’t bother with submitting any normal reports, because AzDHS only flags and investigates the ones that are abnormal.
- AzDHS has to look at every midwife abnormal report. This will make AzDHS will have a hard time differentiating what the midwives are actually submitting versus what is part of the protest. Their staffing and $$$ for investigations are already stretched thin.
- If 100 people submit 67 reports, that is 6,700 reporting forms they have to puzzle though. Can you get 10 of your friends laptops together this weekend for a couple hours to submit reports? That’s 670. Midwives in Arizona do about 700 birth per year TOTAL. Do you get what I am saying? AzDHS will have no idea what to do with this amount of “data.”
- Don’t worry about messing up any valid data collection. To me and most midwives it looks like unfair regulation is the goal, rather than data collection. But even if AzDHS is genuinely trying to collect data, they have proven in the past they do not know how to do so.
- You will be causing trouble for AzDHS, but also causing a little trouble for the midwives. Understand that AzDHS will contact us for every abnormal report.
- Midwives, be ready for the response to this. Do not assume that the department is always right in their citations of you and tell them loud and clear that you will not comply when you are notified on a falsified report, that you do not have a client with that client or chart number, or birth date, etc.
This action is meant to at the least make AzDHS figure out a more secure system for data collection, use a LOT of their resources to filter through all the abnormal reports, contact midwives, and find which are valid. It is not likely to create long term change, but will make a loud statement that people are paying attention to their ways.
Happy reporting, and please remember to write me with the number of reports you submitted and any feedback.