House Health Committee Considers Midwifery Licensure Bill

On Tuesday morning, June 19, 2012,┬áthe North Carolina General Assembly’s House Health Committee heard public comment regarding HB 522 – Midwifery Licensure Act. This legislation, proposed by Rep. Winkie Wilkins (D-Person), Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph), Rep. William A. Current, Sr. (R-Gaston) and Rep. Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg), would license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to perform homebirths without physician supervision.

The committee heard testimony from Mr. Russ Fawcett and Mr. Rob Black, representing the North Carolina Friends of Midwives as well as from Senator Thom Goolsby (R-New Hanover) speaking in favor of the proposal.

NCMS member Frank Harrison, MD, spoke on behalf of the North Carolina Obstetrics and Gynecological Society in opposition of the bill. Dr. Harrison, also a member of the North Carolina Midwifery Joint Committee, cited concerns for patient safety and the inadequate training requirements and regulatory oversight proposed for CPMs.

Additionally, the committee heard comment from NCMS member Daniel Kraus, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Duke University. Dr. Kraus noted his concerns regarding the proposed bill language and its lack of definition for lower risk mothers and babies as well as the ability of a CPM to identify such risk factors.

The House Health Committee did not vote on this legislation Tuesday. With the passage of the budget this week and the winding down of the 2011-2012 Session, it is unlikely that HB 522 will become law. However, the NCMS will continue to advocate for the safety of North Carolina patients on this issue in preparation for continued debate in 2013.


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