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07/14/2024 08:13 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20230&cosponId=42316
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 18, 2024 03:01 PM
From: Senator Rosemary M. Brown
To: All Senate members
Subject: Modernization of Midwifery in Pennsylvania
 
In the very near future, I intend to introduce legislation providing for updates to the practice of midwifery known as the “Midwifery Modernization Act.”
 
A board-certified midwife is an integral part of our healthcare provider workforce.  Midwives care for individuals during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and the first 28-days of a newborn’s life, and many also provide other routine women’s reproductive care. Midwives also provide full prenatal care, clinical examinations, and screening. Other responsibilities include:
  • identify high-risk pregnancies.
  • monitor women and support them during labor and the birthing process.
  • teach new and expectant mothers how to care for their babies.
 Gaps in maternal health care are one of the most concerning issues for young families.  There has been a significant shortage of physicians choosing to be generalist Obstetrician-Gynecologists (OB-GYNs).  There are numerous counties who have no obstetricians or licensed midwives, and struggle to recruit and keep doctors. 
 
Passage of this legislation would result in expanded access to maternal health care, and also ensure high quality of care and professionalism within the midwifery practice in the Commonwealth. Board-certified midwives are an essential part of the current women’s health workforce, leading to greater access to care and improved health care outcomes.  However, in Pennsylvania the practice is in need of regulation modernization.
 
OB-GYNs and midwives work well together and are meant to be partners in providing maternal care.  This legislation is not a replacement of current practice, rather it is ensuring access to high-quality care.  Current cooperative working relationships exist between the professional associations of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), leading to integration of midwifery providers into the education of resident physicians and midwifery staffing of labor and delivery units and birth centers across the entire state.  This legislation will further integrate midwives into all types of locales and practices in Pennsylvania, not just academic health centers.
 
Specifically, this legislation amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985 by:
  • providing for licensure of certified midwives in Pennsylvania,
  • updating outdated regulatory restrictions, and
  • modernizing the current collaborative agreement structure. 
It is important to emphasize that the collaborative working relationship with OB-GYN’s and hospitals will remain an important part of the maternal healthcare process, lead to greater care and expansion of quality care, and midwives will continue to have an emergency plan in place in case of a medical emergency.
 
Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.    If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov.  Thank you for your consideration.



Introduced as SB1262