Update from Joyce Weckl, CNM

Dear Friends and Colleagues;

Here is a little background and update on our struggle in Ventura County. St. John's Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley (Camarillo) are sister hospitals owned by CHW. Recently it was passed through peds committee (where this started), OB committee, MEC, and the Board of DIrectors that hospital policy would change so that CNMs were no longer allowed to deliver at St. John's Pleasant Valley. The reason cited was safety. Pleasant Valley is a small community hospital with no NICU. St. John's Oxnard is a large regional medical center with a NICU. We are still able to deliver in Oxnard but our office is in Camarillo. Not to mention, women want to deliver in their local hospital and for some women this access to care is extremely prohibitive.

There has never been any sort of peer review over the quality of CNM care nor were we invited or aware of any of these proceedings. In fact, the letter they sent me (3 days before this became effective) stated that this was no reflection whatsoever on my care. It also stated that I was not entitled to a hearing or review. Our belief is that this policy is the result of several political agendas of certain members of the medical staff and has no basis in evidence or statistics. I also feel that this is not just about midwifery but also about women's health care options being determined by back room dealings and not evidence based medical care.

The local group that is spearheading the campaign is called Birth Action Coalition (BAC) their website is the go to place for current information. We've been on the news, had lots of coverage in the local paper, and are trying to organize letter writing and protests. Please see the website for more information. All of the media links are on there.

I urge you to let your voice be heard, please forward this to anyone and everyone that you can think of. This is a travesty. One other note, Mike Murray the CEO of St. John's is "resigning" in March. This will leave us without any main person to complain to. That's why it is imperative to contact his boss and other members listed on the contact sheet.

Many thanks,
Joyce Weckl, CNM