Sunrise Analysis: Regulation of Certified Professional Midwives
A Report to the Governor and the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i
Hawaii State Auditor, Report No. 17-01, January 2017
Should Certified Professional Midwives Be Regulated?
IN REPORT NO. 17-01, Sunrise Analysis: Regulation of Certified Professional Midwives, we found that the State’s proposed regulation of Certified Professional Midwives, who comprise just a small segment of the midwifery profession, is insufficient and inconsistent with the State’s regulatory policies. The proposed regulation we reviewed applies only to midwives who have obtained the Certified Professional Midwife credential from the North American Registry of Midwives, which is one of several midwifery associations, but the proposed regulation does not require even those individuals to be licensed to provide services as a midwife.
Although the regulation, as proposed, is flawed, we found that the Hawai‘i Regulatory Licensing Reform Act’s criteria supports mandatory licensure of the entire midwifery profession. Midwives assist women in home childbirth. They can perform exams monitoring the pregnant mother’s health as well as the weight, heart rate and position of the baby, provide prenatal care, assist during labor and delivery, and offer guidance about breastfeeding and other newborn care issues. They typically provide such services as an alternative to a medical doctor such as an obstetrician. Their work directly impacts—and can endanger—the health and safety of both mothers and babies. Given the nature of the work performed by midwives, we recommend that the Legislature consider establishing a mandatory licensing framework for all midwives, not just Certified Professional Midwives, to protect the consumers of the services, i.e., the mothers and newborns.
Why did we perform this review?
DURING THE 2016 SESSION, the Legislature considered legislation to regulate Certified Professional Midwives and, by concurrent resolution, asked us to review the appropriateness of the proposed regulation.
The Hawai‘i Regulatory Licensing Reform Act requires us to assess legislative proposals that will create a regulatory scheme for professions and vocations that currently are unregulated. These reviews, which are known as a “Sunrise Analysis,” examine whether regulation is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of consumers of the services and is consistent with other regulatory policies.
The Hawai‘i Regulatory Licensing Reform Act mandates that a profession or vocation be licensed where the nature of services offered may jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of consumers. At the same time, the Act establishes policies to ensure that the State exercises its power to regulate only where such regulation is reasonably necessary to protect consumers.
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