As midwifery consumers and supporters, we urge the NY State Legislature to support the Midwifery Modernization Act (S.5007/A.08117). This act would serve as an amendment to the current Midwifery Practice Act, Article 140 of the Education law, removing the requirement for a written practice agreement between a licensed midwife and a physician. Midwives are skilled professionals trained to provide care to women during pregnancy and childbirth as well as a full scope of well woman care. A key component of their training is assessing women's health status and knowing when to refer clients out to other specialists as needed. Midwives work with a wide range of professionals, with whom they are not required to have a particular agreement. Research shows that maternity outcomes for midwives are excellent while maternity costs are significantly lower. The women, babies, and families midwives serve benefit from a model of care that includes promoting wellness and health education. In order to practice midwifery, the current law states that licensed midwives must enter into a signed agreement with a physician defining the scope of the midwifery practice and protocols to be followed. The law does not require physicians to enter into these agreements and many refuse to do so for various reasons. The practical result is that in NY State midwives are barred from independent practice despite being licensed, limiting the ability of consumers to access a full range of health care providers. This amendment eliminates the requirement for written practice agreements as it pertains to the licensing of midwives in the state of NY. Passing this legislation will increase the number of licensed, qualified maternity and women's health providers in NY State, particularly in areas that are medically underserved. We want to choose our health care providers based on our own needs. We, the undersigned, call for a repeal of this prerequisite in order to ensure access to these key healthcare providers in the State of New York.
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