Currently, the New York State midwifery law requires all midwives to have a collaborative written practice agreement (WPA) with a physician in order to practice legally in the state.
This requirement represents a significant barrier to practice for many midwives in the state as few physicians are willing to sign WPAs. It also tremendously hinders access to midwifery care for many women in New York.
The New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM) has begun to advocate for the removal of the WPA requirement that midwives now must have with a physician to practice in NYS. The Midwifery Modernization Act, Senate Bill S5007/Assembly Bill A8117, would accomplish this goal.
While the spirit of the WPA requirement may seem like it inspires collaboration between midwives and physicians, in fact, this is not the case. Although many doctors are willing to collaborate with midwives, they are unwilling or unable to sign these agreements. Therefore, although midwives are trained as independent health care professionals, this requirement in the law prohibits them from being able to practice independently.
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