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Dear Friends and Neighbors,  

On Thursday, I voted in the affirmative on H4773 – An Act promoting access to midwifery care and out of hospital birth options. This bill will strengthen quality healthcare access for birthing people throughout pregnancy and postpartum. 

 

The rate of severe maternal morbidity in Massachusetts nearly doubled from 2011 to 2020, disproportionally affecting women of color. This maternal health bill expands safe and affordable access to quality alternative birth options, protecting the mother and child. This legislation also supports medical professionals by birthing people’s bedside, Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).  

 

The Maternal Health Bill notably: 

 

  • Requires midwives to become licensed and carry the nationally accredited Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential to meet the educational and practice requirements for the profession 
  • Requires midwifery care to be covered by MassHealth 
  • Removes regulatory and staffing barriers to operate birth centers in Massachusetts  
  • Increases awareness of postpartum depression and requires insurance coverage of screenings for new parents, including during visits to pediatrician offices  
  • Expands access and insurance coverage to lactation support 
  • Mandates the Department of Public Health to establish a program to conduct fetal and infant mortality reviews to identify social, economic, and systemic factors associated with fetal and infant deaths and inform public health policy programs. 

 

The method of home births has risen steeply in the Commonwealth, emphasizing the need for qualified midwives, safe birthing environments, and affordable care. This bill will create a requirement for Certified Professional Midwives to meet the national standards, promoting patient safety and integration of care. It will also update regulations governing the licensure of freestanding birth centers, which provide non-hospital birthing services through specialists such as nurse midwives and doulas. Massachusetts has one operating birth center. The new regulations would align Massachusetts standards with those of the American Association of Birth Centers, and ensure safe, equitable, and accessible birth options.  

 

This legislation will provide quality and affordable care across Massachusetts by improving access, safety, and resources. Increasing access to Certified Professional Midwives and birthing centers will address maternal mortality in our Commonwealth, protecting the physical and mental health of birthing people. Click here to read a full summary of the legislation, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.   

 

Yours in service,  

Denise 

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