New Law Expanding Midwife Services

September 25, 2015

The Sacramento Business Journal
By Kathy Robertson

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill this week that allows licensed midwives to provide comprehensive services to Medi-Cal patients.

Senate Bill 407 by Republican Sen. Mike Morell from Rancho Cucamonga is expected to expand access to care by giving low-income women more provider choices.

The move could save the state money, too. A home or “birth center” birth with a licensed midwife is up to 80 percent cheaper than a hospital birth, according to an analysis of the bill.

Under state law, licensed midwives can practice without physician supervision. Their scope-of-practice allows them to attend cases of normal pregnancy and childbirth, obtain supplies and devices, and administer drugs and diagnostic testing. There were 332 licensed midwives in California as of Dec. 31, 2014.

This bill allows midwives to serve as providers in the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program that provides treatment to women with Medi-Cal coverage. It directs the state Department of Health Care Services to revise existing regulations by Mar. 1, 2016 to reflect the change.

“We are thrilled that, thanks to the passage of SB 407, California families of all income levels will have increased access to licensed midwives and the low-cost, high-value care that they provide in birth centers and home births,” said Sarah Davis, a licensed midwife and legislative and policy chair for the California Association of Midwives. The trade group sponsored the bill.

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