You may or may not know that being licensed as a midwife in Oregon is optional. Holding a license in the state allows you to carry “Legend Drugs and Devices” (oxygen, medications, suturing material, etc.) and bill Oregon Health Plan. It also requires you to adhere to a set of “risk criteria”, which are guidelines for the midwives’ scope of practice and requirements regarding when to consult or transfer care. All of the Alma primary (Direct-Entry CPM) midwives are licensed by the state of Oregon and, if you were/are an Alma client, you may recall signing a document with those guidelines on it. This legislative session there is a proposed bill to make midwifery licensure mandatory, with an exemption for traditional birth attendants. Here is a letter advising you on how to stay informed about the legislative session and suggesting appropriate venues for expressing your opinion on issues surrounding licensure.
Dear Families, Supporters, and Birth Workers,
The 2013 legislative session (which starts February 1st) may bring significant changes in midwifery regulation in Oregon. Our legislators will be considering a bill which includes mandatory licensure of Direct Entry Midwives, an exemption for traditional midwives, and restored autonomy for the Board of Direct-Entry Midwifery. Regardless of where you stand on these issues, we want to let all homebirth and birth center families and supporters know how to stay informed and give input to your legislators throughout the session. We are seeking contact information for those of you who would like to get direct e-mails with updates about hearings, meetings, and letter writing campaigns. If you would like to receive these e-mail updates, please email Jocelyn Brown at [email protected]
If you are on social media, you can consider “liking” Oregon Midwifery Council or Birth Freedom for Oregon on Facebook. Both of these pages will be providing current updates on what is happening, and how can have your voice be heard.
Alternately, you can subscribe to the Oregon Midwifery Council blog on our website (oregonmidwiferycouncil.org) which will have current updates throughout the session.
Lastly, if you are interested in meeting with legislators in person about this bill and about access to midwifery care in general, please save the date for our Annual Lobby Day, Thursday, February 28th. More information about the lobby day will be available soon.
If you already have input that you’d like to give your representatives about this bill you can look them up at: www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/ Please remember, when contacting your legislators, that they are working hard in service of their constituents and want to be approached with kindness and simple information that can best help them represent you. Many of them are unfamiliar with out-of-hospital birth and midwifery and will need basic information to be better able to understand your point of view.
We are looking forward to this active legislative session and believe that Oregon legislators will be best able to carefully consider these important issues if home birth and birth center families put themselves at the center of this process.
Oregon Midwifery Council
Also, here is a link to an article summarizing these issues as well as the current struggle to ensure midwives are covered under Oregon Health Plan’s new Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs).
For those who would really like to get down to the nitty gritty details, here is draft of the proposed bill.