OB/GYNs Oppose Midwife Act

Birth Injury

ACOG, the association that represents more than 4,000 OB/GYNs in New York, strongly opposes the Midwifery Modernization Act, which is currently before the New York legislature for a vote. The legislation would eliminte the requirements for midwives to enter into a written practice agreement with physicians in order to be able to practice in the state. The OB/GYNs argue that without the written practice agreement requirement there is no clear responsible party for a patient’s care.

The Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co., a medical malpractice insurance company for physicians in New York, has stated that without the practice agreement, it would not insure midwives. The OB/GYNs adn MLM believe the new legislation would risk patient safety.

This is a big to-do about nothing. In almost all of the lawsuits I have handled against midwives and nurse midwives, there has been no written practice agreement or written practice protocol between the midwife and the “collaborating physician”. Although New York’s Education Law requires a written practice agreement and a written practice protocol between the midwife and her collaborating physician, there are few nurse midwives who comply with this statutory requirement. In fact, IT IS IGNORED IN MOST CASES!

Most midwives cannot answer what a written practice agreement is, and some cannot even answer whether they have one with their “collaborating physician”. The reality for most midwives is that they already practice independent of medical “collaboration” and there is virtually no oversight or supervision of midwives by physicians. For this reason, the new legislation is meangingless and will have no effect upon the practice of midwives and nurse midwives.