Midwives & Medi-Cal

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello! My partner and I are looking for referrals for:

    - a birth center that provides prenatal care and accepts MediCal (either Anthem or Alliance) and/or has a sliding scale/financial assistance.

    - a holistic midwife who: 1) accepts MediCal or has a sliding scale 2) provides prenatal care 3) ideally provides some postpartum support, and 4) can attend a hospital birth in the East Bay (most likely Alta Bates).

    Thank you!

    Noah + Annabelle

    GoldenOak Midwives are fantastic and I believe accept your insurance but you pay a flat fee that I believe they offer financial assistance (around $5000). They have a great model where they’re your primary care provider for the whole pregnancy and you give birth with them at Alta Bates 

    We had a great experience with Collective Birth - they’re located right across from Alta Bates and have delivery privileges there. Good luck! 

    We recently gave birth at Pacifica Family Maternity Center and can’t say enough good things about them. The midwives are incredibly attentive and provide prenatal care, delivery, and several postpartum check-ins. They have a Family Fund that offers financial assistance to help families access their care. An easy way to learn more about the center is to attend one of their free Zoom orientations. Happy to chat offline if you have questions about our experience! Best wishes to your family.

    Brief info on the Pacifica Family Fund: https://www.pacificafamilyfund.org/

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Homebirth Midwives and Medi-cal

Jan 2013

Do home Midwives accept Medi-cal? If so, any recommendations? Thank you

My relative attempted a home-birth with a MW and Medical covered it. MediCal did not cover a home-birth kit which went unused and MW refused to refund the costs which for my poor relative was a lot of money. MW also abandoned my relative when thing did not go perfectly and my relative eventually ended up being very happy with her hospital experience. I think before you embark on that journey you should read up on difference between CPMs, LMs and CNMs.

Also, home-birth MWs do not carry malpractice insurance insurance unlike OBs . So, if something goes wrong because of negligence and you will need money to care for your child, you will not be able to get anything in courts. http://homebirthdeathstatistics.blogspot.com/ Careful Consumer

As I understand it homebirth midwives, if they are CNMs they can theoretically take Medi-Cal but I believe they need to have an OB back-up agreement which is hard to get. As a previous response indicated a birth center may be the way to go. Pacifica Family Maternity center in Berkeley is committed to having 51% of their practice be Medi-Cal clients. They don't actually get reimbursed for these clients yet although that is their plan for the future. They are definitely worth contacting. http://pacificamaternity.com/

My midwife, Sara Flores is a CNM and is also working being able to accept Medi-Cal. She attends her clients' births at Sacred Birth Place and also does homebirths. She's amazing in so many ways. My partner and I feel so blessed to be in her care. You can contact her through her website: http://www.reclaimmidwife.com/ Also, some midwives are willing to take on low-fee clients and a few occasionally take probono ones. Most operate on a sliding scale and are willing to work with their clients to figure out payment plans, trades, etc. Don't let insurance stand in the way of you having a homebirth if that's what you want to do. Despite what people may tell you, having a ''homebirth in a hospital'' is nowhere near the same experience. Good luck! Marcie

Hi I am a homebirth midwife, a Licensed Midwife. As a general rule, Licensed Midwives cannot bill medical for their services, but can provide care for a fee to clients with medi-cal, We can send clients to the lab, or for ultrasounds and those are covered by medi-cal/. We can also make referrals to other agencies like WIC for clients that may be eligible.

I personally do not know any midwife Licensed or Certified Nurse Midwife that bills media-cal. I and other midwives, and Sacred Birth Place (http://www.sacredbirthplace.com) in Oakland, do offer sliding scale fees for clients who have medi-cal. I believe that Pacifica Maternity Center in Berkeley will be offering services to Medi-cal clients.

Homebirth can be a safe and wonderful experience for women and their families. We want to be able to offer services to as many women as possible. Treesa Mclean, Licensed Midwife

Midwife or Birthing Center that takes Medi-Cal

June 2012

Hello All, I'm am embarking on the journey of single motherhood at age 42! I've got supportive friends, a doula and a wonderful home to have my baby now I am looking for a midwife or a birthing center that takes medical in Alameda. Any advice and direction will be greatly appreciated. Thank-you! Christine

dear christine, i don't know about midwives/birthing centers in alameda but i thought i'd mention my midwife, lindy johnson, who is in berkeley and takes insurance (i assume medi-cal but you'd have to ask her). my baby was born five months ago and nearly every day i still count my blessings for lindy. she is a firm, loving, capable and highly skilled midwife who helped me have the birth i wanted despite some difficult extenuating circumstances (multiple day labor, swollen cervix, etc). i think it's atrocious that insurance companies do not cover more midwives and support women in choosing midwives but i'm so grateful that i was able to find and work with lindy. lindy delivers at alta bates hospital. although nervous in some ways about a hospital birth i ended up feeling really wonderful about alta bates and all the care, space, and freedom i received there. best wishes to you on this amazing journey. you can get lindy's contact info by googling her name. ilana

I just had my daughter at Sacred Birth Place on Park Blvd in Oakland. They're amazing and wonderful and I'm so glad I chose them. They're a birth center, but also do home births. They can work with you on payment and I'm pretty certain take MediCal. Sacred Fan

I didn't answer before because this new birth center isn't in Alameda (there isn't a birth center in Alameda), but there is about to be a new birth center in Berkeley, on Telegraph, 4 blocks from Alta Bates. It's called Pacifica Family Maternity Center www.pacificamaternity.com and YES they will take Medical (as well as private insurance), which as far as I know, is unique to them in the area. They are not officially opening until November, so if your due date is after that, you should seriously consider them.

The birth center is co-founded by Cindy Haag who is one of the most loved and respected midwives in the Bay Area, you can look up her many glowing reviews on the Berkeley Parents Network. I don't know her midwifery partner, Sonja Cahoon, but if Cindy trusts her, I'm sure she is also great. I had a fantastic homebirth experience with Cindy, and referred her to many of my friends, all of whom were similarly happy. She has a great deal of medical knowledge and birth experience, and is also incredibly kind and compassionate.

The opening of this birth center is a great thing for the Bay Area. Excited about the new birth center

VBAC OB GYN AND Midwife - Medi-Cal

Nov 2009

Dear BPN, I have so much respect for your collective wisdom and experience, and I need some help. I just found out I'm pregnant with our second baby. We are thrilled. But I have many concerns about how to achieve the birth I want. I had a C-section last time, so don't feel like simply having a home birth without having developed an option for possible medical complications. But I would like to have a sweet gentle environment. My husband and I were both born at home, and were very disappointed to have had to go the hospital route last time. I don't know of any birth centers in the East Bay, or even in the Bay other than one in SF and one in Santa Rosa. I was also wondering how to approach a 'dual' birth attendance; OB and midwife together? I really want a VBAC and believe that the beliefs and energy of the attendant to the birth are of HUGE importance and influence the outcome.

Oh- also, I will most likely be on Medi-Cal, if that makes any difference to what you'd advise. We do have money put away for out-of-pocket stuff like the midwife, a doula, etc. Thank you so much (in advance) for your kind consideration of my confused request! VBAC-To-Be!

I had a drug-free, totally uncomplicated VBAC last year with nurse midwife Lindy Johnson at Alta Bates and it was an amazing experience. Lindy is backed up by the OBs at East Bay Perinatal and they always have someone at the hospital. So if an OB had been needed, someone would have been right there. There was no OB attending my birth, though, and all my prenatal visits were with Lindy at her office. I had an OB for my first birth and can say the midwife experience was quite different - in short, more respectful of my wishes for a natural childbirth, more hands-on and supportive. Lindy is a gifted, wise, gentle and caring person with many, many years of experience. She helped me to have the birth I wanted and didn't think I would get to have. I am so thankful to have found her! Elizabeth

Certified Nurse Midwife Jeri Zukoski is good. She accepts most insurance and MediCal. Her expertise is VBAC. She lives for the birth so office visits can be fine or not so focused at times. I liked the more natural, self-aware approach, though. Overall, happy with her services! She's in Berkeley on Dwight above Shattuck. Mama of two

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Dec 2005

i've been seeing jeri zukoski, and i feel pretty comfortable with her, but i'd really like to do a homebirth (which medi-cal won't cover) and can't afford her rates.

Try calling around. Although they don't advertise it, some midwives have a sliding scale. When we interviewed midwives in late 2003, I think they went as low as $2000, but there may be some that go lower. Don't forget to ask what may be excluded from that fee (such as birth supplies, lab tests, ultrasounds, etc.). Perhaps some of these 'extras' are covered by Medi-Cal. You can read general homebirth midwife recommendations, including mine, at http://parents.berkeley.edu. Also, see http://bayareahomebirth.org.

Midwives and medi-Cal

Feb 2005

We are looking for an excellent ob/gyn in the east bay, preferably in Berkeley, who accepts Medi-Cal and works with a midwife. I lost my excellent PPO coverage at the start of '05, and although this is our third child, it is our first time working within the Medi-Cal system. I wish a midwife assisted home-delivery were an option, but since it is not covered I would appreciate any recommendations, advice, or resources anyone has to offer. I am already well into the second trimester and would feel good finding a health care provider soon. Thanks to all! BRAREN FAMILY

Jeri Zukoski takes Medi-Cal. her office in on downtown Berkeley- Dwight & Shattuck. she has privileges at Alta Bates. her number is 530.3374 good luck, Virginia Duplessis

West Berkeley Family Practice takes medi-cal and has midwives 5 days a week. They also have 2 Community health workers whose sole job is to work with our pregnant families and help with things like medi-cal sign up and and insurance issues down the road, WIC, BIH, hospital tours and registration. West Berkeley also has the program Centering Pregnancy, which is prenatal care in a group setting (you can check out the Centering program at www.centeringpregnancy.org) You can call 981-4269 and talk to Anya (one of the CHW's)for sign up info or for informations about the Centering program call Cris at 981-4200 x.4245 good luck!

I went to Hsiu-Li Cheng when I was on Medi-cal, and she was totally amazing (see other reviews in BPN archives). It's a bit of a drive from Berkeley, though, if her office is still in the same place, next to Summit hospital. Consider her, though -- she is really, really skilled and experienced, and I felt complete confidence in her during my whole pregnancy and birth. She also works closely with O.B.s, if you end up with any medical needs she can't handle/prescribe for. anon

Back in 1998 I had Medi-Cal, and depite misinformation from 2 different Medi-Cal staffmembers they DO cover CNMs,(unless it has since changed.) The practioner we used is Jeri Zukosky CNM at Alta Bates who has an MD back-up, but we never met with nor used the MD. It was 100% covered. I believe Medi-Cal covers any of the CNMs, check with Waddle and Swaddle in Berkeley for a full list of choices. Jeri also does homebirths (most do one or the other) and you'd have to call her to check, but I'm nearly certain this actually would have been covered by Medi-Cal as well (with a CNM, but unfortunately not a homebirth-only midwife.) happy we had MediCal and a supported natural birth

May 2004

I have just moved to the bay area and have since found out that I am pregnant. My husband and I had been volunteering for the past year in Haiti and returned in March. We were not expecting to be pregnant and here I am happy, delighted and due in Nov. As a result we are currently insured under Medi-cal for the pregnancy until one of us finds a job. I have begun to see midwife Nancy Barnett-Moore and have been comfortable so far. I see the Berkeley parents network recommends her with all good comments. Can anyone with fairly recent first-hand experience with Nancy give me some advice/recommendations?

I had a wonderful birth experience with Nancy Barnett Moore. Nancy was our midwife for my son's birth 6 months ago at Alta Bates. I highly recommend her, without any reservations. We chose Nancy because she was highly recommended on this list, and after meeting her, we really liked her attitude and her demeanor- she listened to us, asked a lot of questions, and basically assured us that she understood exactly what we wanted for our birth. My prenatal appointments were all thorough and positive, and although they often started late, Nancy always spent a lot of time with us, making sure that all of our questions were answered. She has a style that is both gentle and confident, and constantly made me feel comfortable in her care.

While the prenatal care was excellent, Nancy's strengths really came forward when my labor began. My baby came 4 weeks early, and Nancy was calm and reassuring throughout my hours of laboring at home. While I labored at home, Nancy showed the perfect balance of sound medical advice and consideration for our wishes. When we finally went to the hospital, Nancy met us in the triage area, and examined and admitted us right away. Nancy was well respected by all of the hospital staff, and was comfortable and at ease in the medical environment.

I labored for 5 more hours at the hospital, and was able to deliver my baby without any pain medication. At several times during the labor, I truly questioned whether I would be able to weather the pain. Nancy never tried to give me false confidence; at one point I remember her saying, ?you still have at least two hours of pushing. This is not going to be easy, but you are so strong, and I know you can do it.? Nancy gave me realistic information about the progression of my labor (and never sugar coating it), while encouraging me to stay strong and remember what kind of a birth I wanted. (This is not to say that she was overly dogmatic either! She was respectful of our wishes, but never seemed to be pushing us in any direction.) There were a few small complications during the delivery, which Nancy handled gracefully and professionally. These would probably have resulted in medical interventions, if not for Nancy. I never doubted her competence, and felt fortunate to be in the hands of such a compassionate and talented midwife. Nancy is a wonderful person and an incredibly skilled practitioner. I have only positive memories of my son?s birth, and I feel blessed that Nancy was with us. Good luck with your pregnancy and birth! Karen

We think Nancy's great. Our baby was born five weeks ago, at Alta Bates, natural and unmedicated, with Nancy as midwife. She was kind, patient, and attentive to our needs and wishes. The nurses clearly respected Nancy, despite the difference between their hospital procedures and Nancy's laid-back midwifery style. Post-partum she has been exceptionally supportive. We strongly recommend her, have full confidence in her skills, and confidence in her ability to react calmly and correctly to the unexpected. Ilil & Bryce

2003 & Earlier