MIDWIFERY: Adjustments to Supervision Law Delayed
Although Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) would like to see changes made to the state midwife law in an effort to encourage midwife practice, she admits such changes are unlikely to occur this year. Currently, the law stipulates that midwives may only practice under physician supervision, but doctors contend they are unable to supervise for fear of lawsuits stemming from complications. Physicians, lawyers, state regulators and midwives agree that this law "leaves midwives practicing in legal limbo," but are unable to reach a solution. Figueroa proposed to alter the requirement of supervision to simple "collaboration," allowing physicians to act as "informal consultants" to midwives. But a bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday only stated that midwives are required to indicate the use of malpractice insurance and delivery emergency plans to their patients. Figueroa is now lobbying to have the bill changed to permit midwives to sign birth certificates, and she also may ask the Senate Office of Research to study the safety of midwife deliveries as compared to hospital births. She also is considering a hearing of the Business and Professions Committee to convene all parties to craft a bill for consideration in 2001 (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.