Push for licensing of midwives presented to Charleston
By David Esteppe
In November, Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) approached legislators in the state capital asking that West Virginia become the 29th state in the country to legally recognize CPMs and create a state registry and licensure.
Vice President of Midwives Alliance of West Virginia, Kathryn Haines, told the Register-Herald that without this recognition, women do not have a regulated way to select a midwife; additionally, CPMs are hesitant to practice in West Virginia.
Nationally accredited North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) defines a Certified Professional Midwife as a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by NARM, which sets the standards for the competency-based CPM credential. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that “requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings,” according to NARM.
CPMs work in private homes or birth centers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. They provide continuous care for women throughout their childbearing cycle. The scope of practice is derived from NARM job analysis, state laws and regulations, and individual practice guidelines based on each midwife’s skills and knowledge.
Midwife Danette Condon of Pocahontas County started attending births in 1995 after apprenticing since 1989. She explained that the use of a midwife in West Virginia currently requires cash only monies to the tune of $2,500 to $4,000. With licensure of midwives, insurance companies could help cover the cost of this care, and as in states where licensing is available, saving hospitals, insurance companies and mothers millions of dollars over time.
Condon says that midwives provide intensive peer support and counseling to high risk populations without a lot of resources, such as drug addicted mothers. There are only two birth centers in our state right now, and with a registry and licensing, birth centers could theoretically open in every community. Condon would even like to see community colleges taking on programs leading to CPMs.
Condon suggests the public contact their state legislators to support licensing of midwives.
More information about the subject can be found by visiting NARM.org online, and by reading about House Concurrent Resolution Number 139 at www.legis.state.wv.us.