Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why HB 5070 Will do More Harm Than Good for MI Families

1)      There is nothing in this bill that requires midwives practicing outside a hospital to report their outcomes for out of hospital birth.  There is no reliable data to evaluate safety or efficiency of out of hospital birth and NO way for families to reliably know the past record of outcomes for a midwife she hires.    

2)      There are no guidelines for safety measures, transfer of care protocols, or definition of what “low-risk” birth means.  This is critical in making out of hospital birth a safe option for women and ensuring that midwives only attend low risk births and have consistent guidelines to practice safely. 

3)      House Bill 5070 hands a license to CPMs who are grossly undereducated in comparison to their CNM counterparts.  (CPMs don’t need a high school diploma and CNMs require a minimum of a masters degree and years of supervised clinical practice.) In fact, the standard for certification in the US for CPMs is so low, that our CPMs would not be able to practice in ANY other first world county. 

4)      This bill proposes to have CNMs and CPMs call themselves “licensed midwives”, but does not render all other “midwives” illegal.  It does nothing to address consumer confusion about what the term “midwife” means in terms of preparation, standards of care, competency, or recourse in the event of a bad outcome.  In fact, it adds yet another term to an already confounding list of terms, increasing consumer confusion and putting them at greater risk.  Instead, only licensed midwives should be allowed to call themselves “midwives” in our state and all be held to a strict standard for education, standards for practice, and transparency.

5)      House Bill 5070 also proposes to establish a new board within LARA (Licensing & Regulatory Affairs), one made of only midwives and one citizen.  This is wildly inappropriate and will further add to the deeply rooted problems surrounding lacking oversight, disciplinary action, and review from third parties.  ALL other states that have adopted regulations for midwives have created a BALANCED board, including midwives, obstetricians, pediatricians, and nurses…all who have a vested interest in birth and the well being of babies no matter where they are being born. 

6)      This bill specifically states that the state licensing board would have NO authority in making rules to oversee the practice of midwifery, that instead it would be determined by NARM.  The only “regulations” or rules proposed in this bill come from NARM (North American Registry of Midwives, founded by MANA and Ina May Gaskin) as their source.  This is deplorable and extremely dangerous as NARM is a very politically biased and reckless group that works to protect their own.  They have NO viable system for accountability and absolutely should NOT be the source for any laws regarding midwives.  Instead, the BALANCED board should be responsible for collectively making decisions about educational standards, accredited programs of study, licensing, insurance, safety protocols for out of hospital birth, standards for transfer of care, a mechanism for oversight, and mandatory practices for reporting outcomes to evaluate safety/efficiency.   

7)      CPMs want to obtain licensure so they can seek reimbursement from insurance companies, yet they don’t want to carry any liability insurance themselves.  There is nothing in this bill that addresses the need for midwives, like all other health care professionals to carry malpractice insurance.  Having insurance would instantly implement a standard for education & licensing, guide practice more safely, and help families who end up paying enormous medical bills due to negligent circumstances.  It would also prevent midwives with a repeated history of negligence, injury, or death from continuing to practice if insurance was required.  This is a critical piece in improving the safety for out of hospital birth. 

8)      This bill has been publicly denounced by ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) because, “it does more to protect midwives that the people they are intending to serve.” 

9)      There is nothing in this bill that defines “birth center”.  There are NO guidelines nor is there any oversight for those who open a birth center in the state of MI.  In fact, I could open one tomorrow in my garage and call myself a midwife and it would be perfectly legal in our state.

10)  This bill is written by, supported by, and funded by lay midwives and CPMs in our state.  The sponsor of this bill, Ed McBroom is having his fourth baby with a lay midwife this summer.  Your legislators NEED to hear from you about why this bill is so dangerous. 

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