Fact Sheet: An Act Relative to a Board of Registration in Midwifery (SB 847/House Bill 2080)

20 December 2009 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Legislative History: Currently filed as Senate Bill 847 and as House 2080, this bill was engrossed in the Senate on April 10, 2008 and remained on the House calendar until the end of the session.  The bill was refiled in December 2008 and was heard by the Joint Committee for Public Health on July 28, 2009.  The bill has not yet been released from the Joint Committee for Public Health, chaired by Sen. Susan Fargo and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez.
The Purpose of the Bill is to have the Commonwealth set standards for the practice of midwifery in Massachusetts.  The bill creates a Board of Registration of Midwifery, which will regulate the practice of all midwives:  Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), and Certified Midwives (CMs).
Who Are the Midwives That Will be Affected by this Bill? There are three types of midwives: Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs – 450 in MA), Certified Midwives (CMs – none in MA at this time), and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs – over 30 in MA and growing) with varied levels of expertise and all professionally certified by nationally approved certifying agencies.  Nationally, there are currently 1,550 CPMs, which include ~ 130 CPMs licensed in 2008 and ~150 CPMs licensed in 2009, a growth trend of about 10% per annum, year on year.

Current Law: Currently, the Commonwealth only regulates the practice of CNMs, through the Board of Registration in Nursing. There is NO state oversight of CPMs and CMs. Midwives who are not nurses (CPMs–AKA “homebirth midwives”) provide midwifery services to women across the state.
Why This Bill is Needed: This bill is needed to ensure that midwifery care is practiced safely in all settings in Massachusetts, with the ensuing Massachusetts Board of Registration in Midwifery setting and providing clear regulations and state oversight.
The bill articulates a definition of midwifery adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and seeks to set midwifery standards of care and to improve access to midwifery services.
Numerous studies have shown that midwives provide an exceptional level of high-quality care to their patients.  In parallel, midwife-assisted births provide low-risk women with attractive alternatives—more patient time, more individualized care, and at significantly lower cost–to the high-intervention births typically found in hospitals.

What This Bill Does:

  • Establishes state oversight of midwifery through a Board of Registration of Midwifery, which will regulate the practice of CPMs, CNMs, and CMs.
  • Authorizes the Board and the Department of Public Health (DPH), in consultation with the Board of Midwifery, to promulgate regulations relative to prescriptive authority for CNMs and CMs, and the privilege of obtaining and administering medications necessary for the scope of practice of CNMs, CMs, and CPMs.

What This Bill Does NOT Do:

  • Recognize “lay” midwives or give them prescriptive authority
  • Expand the scope of practice of nurse-midwives
  • Mandate insurance reimbursement for CPMs

For more information, please call Jim Henderson (jim@jdhenderson.com) or Ann Sweeney, Massachusetts Friends of Midwives (ann.sweeney@rcn.com) or 617-254-6175/617-901-2777  c.
Rev. 1.05.2010

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Entry filed under: lobbying.

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