Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/20/2004 02:04 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            SB 349-MIDWIFERY BIRTH CENTER LICENSING                                                                         
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 349 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
MS. MYRA PUGH, staff to  Senator Bettye Davis, sponsor, explained                                                               
that currently there  are six birth centers in  Alaska; five more                                                               
are  registered  and  one  is   licensed.  The  owners,  who  are                                                               
certified direct entry and  certified nurse midwives, unanimously                                                               
concluded they  need to have  one license standard for  all birth                                                               
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked if  in  other  enterprises that  involve  the                                                               
Division of  Licensing, the  licensees have to  bear the  cost of                                                               
licensing and if that was the case now.                                                                                         
MS. PUGH replied  that is the case, but wanted  the department to                                                               
verify that.                                                                                                                    
MS.  JUDY DAVIDSON,  owner and  operator, Mat-Su  Midwifery, said                                                               
she does over 100 births per year.                                                                                              
     We feel this bill is  very appropriate in that it would                                                                    
     license us  for doing what licensed  care providers are                                                                    
     already doing.  We would prefer  to be  licensed rather                                                                    
     than registered and [to] adhere to a single standard.                                                                      
MS. KATHRYN PIATT,  owner, Frontier Midwifery, said  she serves a                                                               
large section of outlying communities  and agreed that having one                                                               
licensed birth  center is  a good  idea so  that the  standard of                                                               
care is consistent all over the state.                                                                                          
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS asked  how many births  per year  happen at                                                               
her facility.                                                                                                                   
MS. PIATT replied about 25,  but another birth center in Soldotna                                                               
does that many, as well.                                                                                                        
MS.  KELLY  DESIEYES,  Women's   Way  Midwifery,  said  having  a                                                               
consistent standard  would not only  help the birth  centers, but                                                               
also the families they serve. She supported SB 349.                                                                             
MS. BARBARA NORTON,  Geneva Woods Birth Center,  supported SB 349                                                               
for the reasons previously stated.                                                                                              
MS. DANA  BROWN, Fairbanks, said  she is  the director of  a non-                                                               
profit birth  center that also  serves outlying  Bush communities                                                               
in the  Interior and  that she supported  SB 349.  Licensing will                                                               
make a  better standard  for birth  centers throughout  the state                                                               
and will continue  to advance midwifery, which  the public really                                                               
MS. KAY  KANNE, Executive Director,  Juneau Family  Birth Center,                                                               
said  she sat  on the  board of  Certified Direct  Entry Midwives                                                               
from its inception in 1992 until  2000. She is also the volunteer                                                               
lobbyist for  the Midwives  Association of  Alaska. She  gave the                                                               
committee  background on  how  two kinds  of  birth centers  came                                                               
about in Alaska - registered and licensed.                                                                                      
     This happened back in 1992  when we passed our original                                                                    
     legislation  to  create  a board  of  Certified  Direct                                                                    
     Entry Midwives for licensure. We  also went back to the                                                                    
     Health  and   Social  Services  law  and   changed  the                                                                    
     line...where  it said,  'The  commissioner shall  adopt                                                                    
     regulations for  the registration  of lay  midwifery in                                                                    
     the State  of Alaska.' Well,  we no longer  needed that                                                                    
     because we  were going to  be licensed by  the Division                                                                    
     of Occupational Licensing. So, we  changed that line to                                                                    
     address one of  our other concerns, which  was the fact                                                                    
     that the  birth center  regulations at the  time stated                                                                    
     that only a  physician or a nurse  midwife could attend                                                                    
     births in a birth center.  So, basically we changed the                                                                    
     line  to say  'the registration  of birth  centers' and                                                                    
     then  we   changed  the  wording   to  say   that  'The                                                                    
     commissioner  shall not  require  that  a physician  or                                                                    
     nurse  midwife be  present  at  a birth',  accidentally                                                                    
     leaving the  word 'registered'  in instead  of changing                                                                    
     it to 'licensed'.  We didn't notice that  until we went                                                                    
     back after the law was  passed and the Department said,                                                                    
     'Oh,  we can't  change these  regulations for  licensed                                                                    
     birth  centers.  What you've  done  is  create a  whole                                                                    
     different  kind  of birth  center.  So,  that's how  it                                                                    
     happened in 1992. It was never intended....                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if anyone  opposes this bill. Someone indicated                                                               
SENATOR  FRENCH  moved  to  pass   SB  349  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note.                                                                            
CHAIR  BUNDE   objected  only  to  get   clarification  that  the                                                               
registration will  in deed  be handled  like other  licensing and                                                               
actually pay  for itself. He  asked for the roll.  Senators Ralph                                                               
Seekins, Hollis French, Gary Stevens,  Bettye Davis and Chair Con                                                               
Bunde voted yea; and SB 349 moved from committee.                                                                               

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