Public Comments for 01/21/2021 Health, Welfare and Institutions - Health Professions Subcommittee
HB1737 - Nurse practitioners; practice without a practice agreement.
Last Name: Snider Organization: AARP Virginia Locality: Richmond City

Good morning, AARP Virginia supports HB1737, Del. Dawn Adams' bill to allow Nurse Practitioners to practice without a practice agreement after completion of two years of clinical practice. This is an important step in expanding the scope of practice for Nurse Practitioners. Please vote "yes" on this bill. Thank you.

Last Name: Munson Organization: BirthCare & Women's Health Locality: Fairfax

The professional organizations preparing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Certified Midwives unwaveringly teach consultation and collaboration with MD's and other professionals as a standard of client care. NP, CNM, and CM's are all certified professionals who take an oath to do no harm. Malpractice insurance for a physician is steep and coverage of an additional provider (said professional currently required to have a written agreement with) is care-prohibitive.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Fairfax

Please allow Nurse Practitioners to function within the full scope of their education and licensure. They are trained to consult, collaborate and refer. This does not mean that they need a signed agreement giving "permission" to practice. Nurse Practitioners are the answer to high healthcare cost. Please let them practice without impediment. Story Jones, RN, CNM

Last Name: Turpin Locality: Fairfax

I support these the bills and anything helping the public get care from nurse prescribers, especially certified nurse midwives. These providers offer excellent services and outcomes for less expense and should be promoted where possible. Certified nurse midwives will always work with OBs, but it's hard for them to find a competitor to sign off on their practices.

Last Name: Vayer Organization: Medical Society of Virginia Locality: Stafford, VA

The Medical Society of Virginia ask the General Assembly to oppose HB 1737 and wait to address this issue in the 2022 session. Governor Northam reduced nurse practitioners’ required clinical experience for independent practice earlier this year via Executive Order 57. This was done in large part due to the perception from the Department of Health Professions and the Virginia Department of Health of a potential workforce shortage in the wake of COVID-19. As you are keenly aware, as EO 57 expired, Delegate Adams sponsored a budget amendment to reduce NP’s needed clinical experience and extended this change until the end of the Governor’s emergency order. As you consider HB 1737, it is also important to recall that Delegate Robinson’s 2018 legislation, HB 793, included a required report from DHP, the Board of Medicine, and the Board of Nursing to report “information related to the practice of nurse practitioners without a practice agreement that includes certain data, complaints and disciplinary actions, and recommended modifications to the provisions of this bill to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions and the Senate Committee on Education and Health and the Chairman of the Joint Commission on Health Care by November 1, 2021.” Having adopted Delegate Adams’ budget amendment, the reduction of the required clinical experience for NP independent practice is already happening in Virginia. It will continue to happen as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the Commonwealth. While we certainly hope the need for the emergency order ends soon, most public health experts believe COVID-19 will persist for another 9-12 months at the most optimistic projections. Given that NPs will be able to practice independently in Virginia with two years of experience for several more months, the undersigned do not see an immediate need for the code to be changed permanently in the 2021 session. Per Delegate Robinson’s HB 793, the General Assembly will receive a fuller picture of NP independent practice from the appropriate agencies next November. We humbly ask that the General Assembly wait for a complete reporting of NP independent practice in Virginia before making any permanent and lasting change.

Last Name: Timmons Organization: Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation; Mercatus Center Locality: Loretto, PA

Thank you for inviting me to testify regarding the licensure of nurse practitioners in Virginia. I am a professor of economics and director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. I am also a senior affiliated scholar with the Mercatus Center at GMU. My research shows that permitting nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their specialized training after two years of experience improves patient access to care without increasing cost or sacrificing quality. Nurse practitioners are often restricted by state law from applying the skills that they have learned. But existing law should not tie their hands and unnecessarily delay them from practicing to the full extent of their potential. Virginia would not be going out on a limb by reducing this experience requirement. Its neighbor Maryland recognizes nurse practitioners as primary care providers with full practice autonomy after just 18 months of clinical experience. The District of Columbia grants nurse practitioners full practice autonomy immediately upon successful completion of the requirements for licensure. Research consistently shows that these restrictions on nurse practitioner scope of practice result in longer patient driving times to receive primary care and reductions in the volume of care provided by nurse practitioners. In addition, researchers consistently find that nurse practitioners are more than capable of providing quality care to patients. In my own research examining how changes to nurse practitioner scope of practice affect Medicaid patients, my colleagues and I find evidence that permitting nurse practitioners to practice autonomously is associated with patients receiving more care without increasing cost. However, our research suggests that the positive effects of granting nurse practitioners autonomy are fully realized only when they are granted full practice authority. These effects are quite large—we estimate an 8 percent increase in the amount of care that Medicaid patients receive once nurse practitioners are granted autonomy and full practice authority. Research continues to demonstrate that nurse practitioners are more than capable of providing sorely needed high-quality primary care. Allowing nurse practitioners to practice autonomously after two years of clinical experience is a commonsense reform. Virginia would not be unique; rather, the Commonwealth would be bringing policy closer in line with other states and taking steps necessary to ensure that citizens receive the care that they need. Ed Timmons 1 Donna Felber Neff et al., “The Impact of Nurse Practitioner Regulations on Population Access to Care,” Nursing Outlook 66, no. 4 (2018): 379–85. 2 Yong-Fang Kuo et al., “States with the Least Restrictive Regulations Experiences the Largest Increase in Patients Seen by Nurse Practitioners,” Health Affairs 32, no. 7 (2013): 1236–43. 3 E. Kathleen Adams and Sara Markowitz, “Improving Efficiency in the Health-Care System: Removing Anticompetitive Barriers for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants (Policy Proposal No. 2018-08, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, June 2018), 13. 4 Lusine Poghosyan et al., “The Economic Impact of the Expansion of Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice for Medicaid,” Journal of Nursing Regulation 10, no. 1 (2019): 1–6.

Last Name: Carson-Smith Organization: WY Carson Company Locality: Washington

The National Practitioner Data Bank was established under Title IV of Public Law 99-660, the “Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986.” NPDB is an information clearinghouse to collect and release information related to the professional competence and conduct of physicians, dentists, nurses, and other health care practitioners. In 1996, Congress created a second data bank, the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB), to receive and disclose certain final adverse actions against health care practitioners, providers, and suppliers (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 1996). On May 6, 2013, the NPDB and the HIPDB merged into one database, taking the name of the NPDB. Section 6403 of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010). The goal was to eliminate duplication between the NPDB and the HIPDB. Under Virginia law, adverse incident data is collected on all practitioners licensed to practice under Title 29. Thus, adverse action and medical malpractice information is collected on physicians, MD and DO, and advanced practice nurses regulated through title 29, which includes nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. Using the real-time data and the data analysis tool on the NPDB website, one can pull state-specific and provider-specific information. Using these tools, I requested information from 2015 to 2020 on Virginia health providers. Please noted that the NPDB uploads data quarterly. And, these reports reflect data transmitted to the NPDB as of September 2020. On adverse incidents, the data reported in on Virginia health providers is follows: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 TOTAL ADVANCED PRACTICE 16 14 30 26 15 10 111 PHYSICIANS (MD) 185 173 151 123 179 132 943 PHYSICIANS (DO) 14 13 17 19 11 19 93 Adverse Action as defined by the NPDB includes (1) An action taken against a practitioner's clinical privileges or medical staff membership in a health care organization, (2) a licensure disciplinary action, (3) a Medicare/Medicaid Exclusion action, or (4) any other adjudicated action. The medical malpractice reports on Virginia health providers is as follows: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 TOTAL ADVANCED PRACTICE 7 8 7 9 9 1 41 PHYSICIANS (MD) 104 82 103 101 104 48 542 PHYSICIANS (DO) 10 8 7 5 5 3 38 Even with the bundling of nurse practitioners with nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, the data clearly reflects the quality and safety of nurse practitioners.

Last Name: Bender Locality: WILLIAMSBURG

Dear Dr. Adams and Committee, I am a practicing physician of 49 years. I have been privileged to be a member of the Maryland Board of physician for 4 years. I have worked collaboratively with Nurse Practitioners for over the last ten years. I have valued them as fine team members. I have seen their many limitations, not due to lack of intellect, but due to lack of knowledge required of someone who has not had the 4 years education of medical school and a full residency. I believe 2 years “experience” with supervision that may be off site and very limited is insufficient. Their required license maintenance of 15 any type CME is substandard to that of physician required 60 very specific CME credits. Yet they want to practice the same level of medical care. This is neither fair to them nor the patients they serve. To say the poor or rural need care is true. I have worked in Southwest Virginia. These patients are entitled to the best of care. I reference an article in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing April 2014 which discusses not just Nurse Practitioner education and training but collaboration as part of a team with physicians. Also necessary is learning from experience and one’s mistakes. I have supervised wonderful conscientious NPs. I regret to say I have seen some horrible errors in judgment. I will not sign off on any case without seeing the patient – no matter how brief. I make myself available to be interrupted at any time for consultation so as not to hold up the NP. Example: 70 year old diabetic – NP texted me – his infected leg was no better on 2 weeks of ampicillin. What antibiotic should he be changed to? She gave me no further information. It turned out he was a badly controlled diabetic, on kidney dialysis, hypertension not well controlled, and a host of other problems. The leg wound was deep about 15 inches long by 5 in wide and “ugly”. I arranged for an Emergency admission and intravenous antibiotics as well as other care. This was a fine NP who didn’t recognize the significance of all these factors. The patient would have lost his leg or life if I approved just a different antibiotic. Case # 2: Mother of baby called Nurse Practitioner stating baby lethargic and not eating. NP said to try to push fluids. Mother called several more times reporting baby getting worse. The mother was continually told try to give a bottle and watch baby. Baby died at home of undiagnosed diabetes. I was the case reviewer. I am sure you are aware there is a mandated study coming out in November on this issue which will provide more information. No matter what our field, a NP with fine credentials as Dr. Adams has, members of the legislature, consultants as some of you are, a physician as I am; when we look back we see that 2 years is just the beginning of our learning. To this day I seek contemporaneous advice, knowledge, and guidance on many issues from colleagues, others, and thru research as I have done for this hearing. I am sure you all do the same. Even one physician supervising 6 NPs and after the fact although allowed by law saddens me. Please defend the integrity of the NP profession by requiring more training before they are totally independent in their practice and oppose this bill. Thank you for your consideration. Carol L. Bender, M.D.

Last Name: Hofford Locality: Roanoke

HB 1731 - opposed Delegate Dawn Adams, Chair 1. For past 3 years I have served as a physician supervisor of NP Faculty Clinic with Radford University Carilion. I have worked with NPs since 1987. 2. I have directly observed NP faculty training NP students. What has surprised me is the lack of knowledge/clinical experience of some of the NP faculty and students compared to physician faculty and physician trainees. 3. There appears to be a low set of standards for NP faculty compared to MD faculty required by are accreditation boards which makes me concerned on a graduates’ level of competence. 4. I have seen many NPs take additional training such as DNP since they recognized completing an NP program is inadequate to care for patients/practicing medicine. 5. There is currently a NP study that is due in November this year. I would recommend tabling this bill to next year until it is completed. To pass this bill creates mistrust of the agreement from last year. Roger Hofford, M.D. Past President, Virginia Academy of Family Physicians

Last Name: Scott Organization: VNA, ANA Locality: Madison Heights

I am currently enrolled in AGNP program and I can assure you my education and training will fully support me and our community with safe patient care outcomes. Once I complete my graduate degree, I would like to practice to the fullest extent of my licensure and certification. Please support this legislation. Per the Nurse Journal (2021). A nursing shortage has led to nurses working long hours with inadequate nurse-to-patient ratios, Weatherspoon says. This can lead to nurse burnout and lower-quality care. people now call for greater healthcare measures, such as the universal healthcare system proposed by the Medicare for All bill, that would provide health insurance for all Americans. “While this sounds good, it may escalate the nursing and physician shortage,” Weatherspoon warns. In the case of Medicare for All, more people would likely take advantage of preventive care, which is often the responsibility of nurses. In addition, more RNs may pursue a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree to become an NP. This all leads to an industry that will require more nurse educators, according to Sullivan. https://nursejournal.org/resources/affordable-care-act-nursing-guide/#how-nurses-can-shape-healthcare-reforms

Last Name: Wagner Locality: Albemarle County (Earlysville)

Hello, I write as a third time mother, having just experienced a wonderful home birth under the care of Kelly Siccoli, CNM and her assistant during the pandemic. My first two babies were born at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital under the care of two different OB/GYN practices. The first birth experience was one I remember fondly but I lost two babies after this birth and needed to be seen by a high risk OB for future pregnancies, at least during the first trimester. Unfortunately, my second birth experience was traumatic due to unprofessional treatment by the attending OB, who is no longer a practicing OB and has had a couple mal practice cases brought against her. She was not my primary OB but as many women know, most OB practices are LARGE and women rarely have any choice or say in who is there when the baby decides to come, leaving them with providers they may not feel comfortable with during one of the most vulnerable times of anyone's life. I began my fifth pregnancy (third child) under the care of the same high risk OB practice (only one that delivers at the hospital) that delivered my second child. Then COVID hit. At the time, some hospitals were not allowing fathers to be part of the birth. Several medical organizations recommended that newborn babies be separated from mothers immediately following birth until the mother had not one but two negative covid tests, and at that time, testing was limited and hard to come by. Further, the pandemic left me with no child care for my older children so I did not want to bring my baby into the world alone and at the mercy of the covid policy of the day. I began to explore the option of a home birth with a midwife during my 2nd trimester when I found Kelly but was still under concurrent care of my high risk OB. At my 20 week ultrasound, my OB saw that I had a low placenta, which would require a c-section if it did not move by 36 weeks. Kelly and my high risk OB stayed in close contact and coordinated my care seamlessly until at 30 weeks an ultrasound showed my placenta was resolved and a homebirth was recommended by the high risk OB. Thankfully, I was cleared to transfer my care over fully to Kelly because that OB ended up notifying me (in late June) that i would have to find a new provider since his practice was closing effective 7/31 (I was due on 8/4). Without Kelly, I would not have had any access to prenatal care for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy as the only other OB practice that delivered at my hospital was 1. not accepting new patients and 2. the provider where i had lost my 2 previous babies. Kelly provided a level of care unlike anything experienced with an OB. She consulted and referred me to other providers as appropriate and needed. The US is lagging behind the rest of the world in maternal and fetal outcomes (some of the worst statistics of any developed nation) and I think allowing women more access and more choice in their prenatal care is critical in putting the US (and Virginia) closer to par with the rest of the world. Women's health is public health and should be everyone's concerns. Midwives, hand down, know women's health unlike any other provider. The midwifery model of care is one that needs expansion across our country and I would be happy to see Virginia lead the way.

Last Name: Nguyen Organization: VACEP Locality: Hardy

To submit later

Last Name: Taylor Locality: Norfolk

I oppose this bill on behalf of patient safety. For any medical practitioner, a "clinical apprenticeship," working under a supervisor, is instrumental for learning how to provide clinically appropriate care that is safe for patients. For M.D.s and D.O.s the minimum time for this is a three year residency plus two years of concentrated clinical time during medical school. The NP curriculum is frequently touted as being shorter, with less coursework and clinical time, than the MD/DO curriculum (and is frequently advertised as a reason to pursue an NP career). While this offers obvious benefits, it limits the ability to learn complex medical management, recognize less prevalent diseases, and, importantly, adequately practice providing clinical care in an environment that can catch mistakes. Without this experience, patient safety is at risk. At the very least, NP should be help to this same standard of five years. Additionally, the benefits of NPs are frequently touted as (1) providing more access to underserved communities and (2) providing more cost-effective care. However, the data in the state of Virginia has not yet been completed to show this benefit, while new studies are showing that independently practicing NPs can instead lead to more referrals and unnecessary testing. There is no benefit in rushing to independent practice. Doing so may not only lead to increased healthcare costs and appointment on an already strained healthcare system, but also jeopardize patient safety.

Last Name: Ward Organization: Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Locality: Altavista

I am the current president of the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and am writing to support our nurse practitioner colleagues. Allowing advanced practice nurses to practice to their full extent of education and certification improves access to care for Virginia residents, improves quality outcomes, and reduces cost. I support HB1737 to decrease the amount of full-time clinical experience a nurse practitioner must have to be eligible to practice without a written or electronic practice agreement.

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

It is essential to address the demand for healthcare in a practical way - and these proposals are safe, evidence based, and needed. HB1987: Reimbursement for remote patient monitoring is proven to improve quality of care, lower readmissions, and lower travel and treatment costs. Remote patient monitoring is an essential benefit that allows patients to leave the hospital and get the same quality of care at home. For high risk pregnancies, it can cost as little as $26 a day to provide this service with higher convenience, better care, and keeps a hospital bed open for someone else who might need it more. Compare that to a $5,000 a day stay in the hospital with lower convenience, higher costs, and lower satisfaction. The Governor wisely removed reimbursement barriers to providers to offer this service to those suffering COVID-19 with great results. Virginians deserve access to this benefit and remote patient monitoring needs to be reimbursed immediately. HB1737: Nurse practitioners have safely served their communities with 2 years experience during the pandemic, and states across the country already allow for them to practice with the scope of practice with less restrictions that we have in Virginia. We need frontline healthcare workers practicing to their full capability and this reform achieves that safely. HB1747 / hb1817 : Enabling providers s to practice to their full capability is essential. Nurse practitioners deserve the opportunity be certified and practice according to their skills and education. This common-sense reform helps front line care providers to be more efficient and useful in serving in care deserts. In the same way, we should better leverage physician assistants in the field who could do more but are restricted by regulatory barriers. HB1769: Virginia law, unfortunately, puts walls between patients who are seeking care from licensed providers beyond our state lines. The commonwealth of Virginia does not care if a patient gets in the car and travels to another state to get treatment from an outstanding provider, but if a Virginia gets on the information highway, it can lead to criminal charges who is merely offering care to a Virginian in need of it. When the law was written, a phone was tethered to the kitchen wall. Today, our phones are supercomputers that can provide detailed healthcare information to a doctor in real-time. Our laws are still looking backwards in healthcare - not forward. Patient behavior is seeking better care with more convenience. This bill removes barriers between patients and providers across the country.

Last Name: Ouyang Organization: Medical Society of Virginia Locality: Norfolk

As a member of Virginia's physician community, I write in opposition to Delegate Adams's bill. I have held several leadership roles within the Medical Society of Virginia, and am currently the chair of the MSVPAC. There are several issues which arise with this legislation: 1) Required experience will be cut by more than half: Under current law, 5 years of full time collaborative practice is required for independent NP practice. For the average person, full time is 40 hours per week, translating to approximately 10,000 hours in a 5 year period. Physicians perform 12,000-15,000 hours of supervised patient care before autonomous practice. After 4 years of medical school, physicians receive specialty training in a required residency, which lasts between 3-8 years. NPs must first achieve their RN and enter a graduate-level program which can last between 2-4 years, with anywhere between 500-750 hours of patient care time during their required training. This is 1/16 of the required training of a physician. (See https://www.tafp.org/Media/Default/Downloads/advocacy/scope-education.pdf) 2) Existing data shows that increased independence does not increase patient access to care. More data is forthcoming, which can guide us on this issue: A study by the Department of Health Professions (DHP) is pending release in November 2021. The study was mandated after the passage of 2018’s HB 793, which required the Boards of Medicine and Nursing to report on: the number of NPs who have been authorized to practice without a practice agreement; the geographic and specialty areas in which NPs are practicing without a practice agreement; and any complaints or disciplinary actions taken against these NPs, along with recommended modifications to the act which would include recommendations on clinical experience. Regardless, NPs have not vastly moved to underserved areas, despite the fact that NPs may practice in underserved areas, even if their collaborating physician is not local. National data shows that the geographic distribution of NPs is not significantly different from that of physicians (see https://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/primary/pcwork3/index.html). In fact, underserved areas (whether they are rural or urban) should not need to settle for less comprehensive care. We should be doing more to help recruit and retain physician led care teams in these areas! 3) Governor Northam's Executive Order #57, which was put into effect in the spring of 2020, has temporarily suspended physician supervision requirements for NPs who already have at least 2 years of practice experience due to the pandemic state of emergency. A budget amendment by Delegate Adams in the Special Session extended this until the end of the state of emergency. In order to best use the commonwealth’s resources already put towards this issue, codifying this change in requirements for practice experience into the Virginia’s regulations should only be considered once we have the information which is forthcoming in the aforementioned DHP study. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

I am for nurse practitioner to be able to practice without a doctor being there

Last Name: McCoull Locality: Colonial Heights

Nurse practitioners are more qualified and more caring than most of the medical practitioners you deal with. They have the skills, the education and take time to hear their patients .

Last Name: Weight-Jeter Locality: Midlothian

I support these bills that will give nurse midwives, certified midwives and nurse practitioners autonomy and authority in their respective practice.

Last Name: Wright Organization: None Locality: Henrico County

Tying the NP/midwife to a doctor unfairly restricts access to providers who are credentialed and licensed to practice in the Commonwealth. The physicians are positioned to unreasonably limit or control access to more affordable health care options in low-risk scenarios because they may arbitrarily want to maintain economic superiority. Thank you for doing what is best for the patient.

Last Name: Loving Organization: Midwifes Locality: Chesterfield

Addressing topics for perspective is a form of growth.

Last Name: Tetterton Organization: Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice Locality: Henrico

Support the Bill

HB1769 - Health care providers, certain; licensure or certification by endorsement.
Last Name: Carlin Organization: Virginia Association of Community-Based Providers (VACBP) Locality: Virginia Beach

On behalf of the Virginia Association of Community-Based Providers (VACBP), the largest association of private-sector providers of community-based behavioral health services to Virginia's Medicaid population, I urge you to vote yes on HB 1769. The ability to attract and retain a quality workforce to provide behavioral health services in Virginia is among the most significant challenges our members face. This bill provides flexibility for the Board of Medicine to award a license to practice in Virginia to individuals with a valid, unrestricted license in another jurisdiction, regardless of whether Virginia has a reciprocity agreement in place, so long as the applicant's credentials are satisfactory to the Board and the examinations and passing grades required where the applicant is licensed is equal to those required by the Virginia Board. Thanks to Del. Freitas for bringing this bill forward.

Last Name: Scott Organization: VNA, ANA Locality: Madison Heights

I am currently enrolled in AGNP program and I can assure you my education and training will fully support me and our community with safe patient care outcomes. Once I complete my graduate degree, I would like to practice to the fullest extent of my licensure and certification. Please support this legislation. Per the Nurse Journal (2021). A nursing shortage has led to nurses working long hours with inadequate nurse-to-patient ratios, Weatherspoon says. This can lead to nurse burnout and lower-quality care. people now call for greater healthcare measures, such as the universal healthcare system proposed by the Medicare for All bill, that would provide health insurance for all Americans. “While this sounds good, it may escalate the nursing and physician shortage,” Weatherspoon warns. In the case of Medicare for All, more people would likely take advantage of preventive care, which is often the responsibility of nurses. In addition, more RNs may pursue a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree to become an NP. This all leads to an industry that will require more nurse educators, according to Sullivan. https://nursejournal.org/resources/affordable-care-act-nursing-guide/#how-nurses-can-shape-healthcare-reforms

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

It is essential to address the demand for healthcare in a practical way - and these proposals are safe, evidence based, and needed. HB1987: Reimbursement for remote patient monitoring is proven to improve quality of care, lower readmissions, and lower travel and treatment costs. Remote patient monitoring is an essential benefit that allows patients to leave the hospital and get the same quality of care at home. For high risk pregnancies, it can cost as little as $26 a day to provide this service with higher convenience, better care, and keeps a hospital bed open for someone else who might need it more. Compare that to a $5,000 a day stay in the hospital with lower convenience, higher costs, and lower satisfaction. The Governor wisely removed reimbursement barriers to providers to offer this service to those suffering COVID-19 with great results. Virginians deserve access to this benefit and remote patient monitoring needs to be reimbursed immediately. HB1737: Nurse practitioners have safely served their communities with 2 years experience during the pandemic, and states across the country already allow for them to practice with the scope of practice with less restrictions that we have in Virginia. We need frontline healthcare workers practicing to their full capability and this reform achieves that safely. HB1747 / hb1817 : Enabling providers s to practice to their full capability is essential. Nurse practitioners deserve the opportunity be certified and practice according to their skills and education. This common-sense reform helps front line care providers to be more efficient and useful in serving in care deserts. In the same way, we should better leverage physician assistants in the field who could do more but are restricted by regulatory barriers. HB1769: Virginia law, unfortunately, puts walls between patients who are seeking care from licensed providers beyond our state lines. The commonwealth of Virginia does not care if a patient gets in the car and travels to another state to get treatment from an outstanding provider, but if a Virginia gets on the information highway, it can lead to criminal charges who is merely offering care to a Virginian in need of it. When the law was written, a phone was tethered to the kitchen wall. Today, our phones are supercomputers that can provide detailed healthcare information to a doctor in real-time. Our laws are still looking backwards in healthcare - not forward. Patient behavior is seeking better care with more convenience. This bill removes barriers between patients and providers across the country.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

I am for nurse practitioner to be able to practice without a doctor being there

Last Name: Loving Organization: Midwifes Locality: Chesterfield

Addressing topics for perspective is a form of growth.

HB1817 - Certified nurse midwives; practice.
Last Name: Roberts Locality: Spotsylvania

I used a CNM for my 3rd pregnancy and delivery. She was so professional and compassionate. She did everything my prior OB would have done for my care but provided an extra level of passion. I was very pleased with my experience using a CNM

Last Name: White Locality: Virginia Beach

My name is Akilah White I am a doula and home birth midwife assistant in Virginia Beach, VA. I serve birthing families in all of the Hampton Roads area. Currently there are very few home birth CNM’s in the area I serve. As a doula I welcome the collaborative works of midwives and doulas. In the community, birth doulas and midwives working together only enhances quality of care and is greatly beneficial to birthing families reducing health disparities. I believe CNM’s are competent and needed. I support VA HB 1817.

Last Name: Bauer Locality: Sparta

I fully support!

Last Name: Nohling Locality: Charlottesville

I am in full SUPPORT of HB1817. As a family nurse practitioner myself and also a patient of a certified nurse midwife, it is crucial that we pass HB1817 in order to not lose access to these exceptional providers. I had a home birth with my second child this past July and Kelly Sicoli was the CNM who provided my pre and postnatal care and attended the birth of my baby boy. She was extremely well-trained, highly educated and discerning. She appropriately collaborated with my previous providers (I switched to her care at 30 weeks) in addition to consulting other providers when needed. She swiftly referred me to pelvic floor PT post birth. Her bedside manner was incredible. She respects women was whole people, taking time and and energy to be thoughtful, caring and look beyond the surface. I am certain it was her confident, calm and gentle presence that played a huge role in how smoothly my birth went. We need providers like Kelly in order to care for women in a safe & evidence based way.

Last Name: Douglas Organization: DHP/BON Locality: Glen Allen

Will be available if technical questions . No position on bill

Last Name: Elizabeth Gray Uzzle Locality: Virginia Beach

Dear Friends: I write in support of HB 1817 as a Certified Nurse-Midwife with over 35 years of clinical experience who has practiced in many states. As a native Virginian, I originally left the state to practice in Maryland and Pennsylvania due to restrictive issues with practice in my home state. Currently, I live and work in Virginia Beach for Sentara Health Care. The greatest and sometimes unspoken issue with CNMs' requirement for a contractual type agreement with a physician is the barrier it creates to independent practice. You may ask: "why do these Nurse-Midwives want independent practice? Do they think they are as competent as physicians?" Indeed, it has nothing to do with this reasoning. It has more to do with our ability to work in settings that are conducive to patient care. We do not want independent practice for financial reasons. We do not need independent practice for a kind of power or recognition. Certified Nurse-Midwives understand we will ALWAYS need physician colleagues for consultation, collaboration, and surgical intervention. This change will have no negative effect on safety and CNMs will not suddenly become renegades delivering babies in the wilderness without proper supplies! The bigger issue is the legal requirement of a signed agreement often means that physicians can control our practice from a fiscal and employment perspective. Our choice and ability to serve patients well, including those who may lack access to care, is determined by our employer. Many OB-Gyn practices limit the number of patients with Medical Assistance for fiscal reasons. Most OB practices will not see patients until insurance is active. These delays decrease access to OB care, especially for the most vulnerable patients. Unless we can practice independently and make these decisions ourselves, we are not able to make exceptions for patients who need care. Another important issue is that the necessity for a contract means that CNMs are evaluated, hired, and fired by physicians who control our ability to practice. I have been fired from jobs for disagreeing with the care a physician rendered in the event of a serious postpartum hemorrhage. Because she was my employer, I was tempted not to confront her about substandard care because I knew full well that if I did, I would lose my job and my ability to support my family. I did lose my job, by the way, because I confronted her. We are better providers if we function in a team with physicians, but necessarily as their employees. I am blessed to work for Sentara now where I feel free to care for patients with the best evidence-based care possible and to have a team of excellent physicians who support my role. Not all CNMs are as fortunate! I am also aware that the lobby against this bill advertise that this will make maternity care unsafe and before you know it those crazy midwives will be delivering everybody at home where babies are in danger." The majority of CNMs in Virginia (> 99%) function within hospitals and established offices. Very few do home birth I hope you will see through the hype of this argument. They are grasping at straws and using scare tactics. Thank you for your consideration and I urge you to pass this bill, HB1817, for the benefit of women and infants in our great state! Beth Uzzle, CNM, MSN, RN Virginia Beach, VA

Last Name: Antoine Locality: Norfolk

My name is Rebekah Antoine. I am a Doula and Masters in Public Health student. I also work with the Southern Birth Justice Network and National Black Midwives Alliance. Above all I am a black mom and black pregnant woman living in Norfolk, Va. I am currently seeking Midwifery care and facing difficulties finding Midwives that look like myself. As a black woman who has to face many disparities and inequities, it is important to have a birth team that looks like me that includes my Doula and my Midwife. Both are essential to my birth team and work together. The reason why I am seeking Midwifery care is because their model of care focuses on community, holistic and women-centered/individualistic care which will help myself and my baby have better pregnancy and birth outcomes. The HB1817 bill will increase my birthing options and reduce the barriers to access to care for women that look like me.

Last Name: Antoine Locality: Norfolk

My name is Rebekah Antoine. I am a Doula, Masters in Public Health student. I also work with the Southern Birth Justice Network and National Black Midwives Alliance. Above all I am a black mom and black pregnant woman living in Norfolk, Va. I am currently seeking Midwifery care and facing difficulties finding Midwives that look like myself. As a black woman who has to face many disparities and inequities, it is important to have a birth team that looks like me that includes my Doula and my Midwife. Both are essential to my birth team and work together. The reason why I am seeking Midwifery care is because their model of care focuses on community, holistic and women-centered/individualistic care which will help me have better pregnancy and birth outcomes for myself and my baby. The HB1817 bill will increase my birthing options and reduce the barriers to access to care for women that look like me. 

Last Name: Halima Barqadle Locality: Charlottesville

Dear delegate Adams, My name is Halima Barqadle and I am a certified Nurse Midwife currently practicing in Virginia. I started my midwifery career in Washington DC where midwives have independent practice. I cared for my patients throughout their pregnancy during labor and delivery and for any women’s health issues they had. I consulted and collaborated with my Obstetrician Gynecologist colleagues as needed. This was not due to any written agreement but because that is what my patients needed to get the best care possible and what is required of me within my scope of practice and the standards of practice set by the American College of Nurse Midwives. Many of my patients traveled from various areas in Virginia because they were seeking midwifery care. Women and birthing people may not always have a choice in where or how they birth due to their geographical locations. Approximately 50% of counties in Virginia do not have a maternal child health provider and families living in these areas need to travel to get care. This forces them to endure long wait times or failure to receive adequate care before, during, and after pregnancy. I remember a patient of mine who delivered en route to the hospital because she lived about an hour away and was coming from Virginia to deliver in DC. It is imperative that certified nurse midwives are able to practice within their full scope, this will improve outcomes and increase access to maternity care providers. I have chosen to work and care for women and families in this great state of Virginia which has always been my home and hope bill H.B. 1817 will pass.

Last Name: Harris Locality: Falls Church

Allowing CNMs broader access has been shown to improve maternal perinatal outcomes. Please support CNMs!

Last Name: Forsee Locality: Springfield

In the COVID era especially, I think it is essential for healthy women to have the ability to opt for midwifery care/home birth. I was very blessed to deliver my baby at home this year and avoid possibly contracting the virus in a highly traffic hospital. Requiring midwife's to have the written signature from an OB, who is 'okay' with adding to their competition seems a bit like an oxymoron. Let's equip midwifes to give the best care, and then let's let women have the final say over their care providers

Last Name: Byrne Locality: Richmond

I come from a family of physicians, and I am proud to call myself a nurse, belonging to the most trusted of professions. I started my training as a maternal and infant care provider as a doula, I then apprenticed for a year as a homebirth midwife while seeking to become a Certified Professional Midwife. Recognizing the difficulty in finding willing physicians to consult while operating outside the medical institution, I intentionally went to nursing school, became a registered nurse and finally a Certified Nurse Midwife because I believed so strongly that I needed to become part of the medical institution, so I could build relationships in order to consult, collaborate, and refer when necessary with my physician colleagues. I could have chosen to be a homebirth midwife at many different points along the way, but I chose to work within the medical institution because it helped me to create those valued professional relationships. Many midwives choose to remain in the institution setting because of the resources available to them, there. The idea that once we would be released from a requirement to maintain a formal consultation agreement we would leave the institutional setting and open a homebirth practice is highly unlikely because there is little incentive to do so. Practicing homebirth offers neither financial reward nor job security. It absolutely ensures poor work/life balance, as a midwife is almost always on call and has few if any other practitioners to share the patient load, unlike in larger, institution based practices. While I am operating outside the institution and have a private practice, I sought work/life balance through regular office hours and seeing patients throughout Virginia via telehealth. My practice is built to create more collaboration between midwives and physicians, not less. My practice is built to address gaps in care for maternal mental health as well as access to a higher level of care in a timely manner via telehealth. As a Certified Nurse Midwife and autonomous practitioner, I am in the business of creating safety through collaboration, working to the full extent of my scope of practice, and addressing gaps in care for the welfare of women and families in Virginia. I urge you to support better access to qualified healthcare practitioners by removing redundant requirements of written consultation agreements for Certified Nurse Midwives.

Last Name: Audet Organization: Faces of Postpartum Inc Locality: Reston

As someone who documents and researches the implication of pregnancy care, birth, and postpartum for a living, I cannot stress enough how midwives are the future of maternal care in the US and beyond. Their focus on low-risk pregnancies and in-depth knowledge of the history and science of unmedicated birth is absolutely fundamental in increasing the quality of care as well as lowering the mortality rate, which is at an all-time high in this country. CNMs will always work in consultation/collaboration with OBs. It is a clear aspect of our training and scope of practice. The way things are set now does not reflect the collaborative reality of their complementary sets of care. Requiring OBs to sign an agreement for their "competition" has obvious flaws. CNM will never replace OBs, but OBs cannot, in all honestly, perform and offer the same quality and level of care CNM offer. Please consider, in the interest of all birthing people from various demographics, passing this bill that will be lifesaving.

Last Name: McCoull Locality: Arlington

I support HB1817. I am a CNM in a group CNM practice in NoVA/DC/MD providing well woman exams, birth control, STI screening, and care for healthy pregnancies. Our birth center/home birth practice, BirthCare & Women’s Health, has a much lower neonatal mortality rate (1.8 per 1000 live births) compared with the national rate for all provider types and settings (3.8 per 1000 live births). Our rate of cesarean births for normal, full term pregnancies is a fraction of the national rate (5.5% BirthCare over 30 years versus 25.6% in US in 2019). We achieve excellent outcomes with attentive, holistic care. The requirement for a written consultation agreement does not improve upon the CNM model of care, it just limits where and with whose permission CNM businesses can open. There is an unsubstantiated fear that CNMs would forego physician consultation if the law did not mandate it. This has already been proven false in the 28 states that allow unobstructed practice. CNMs are well aware of the extent of our expertise. Our certifying body, AMCB, defines our scope, and to practice outside of it would jeopardize one’s license and certification. There are opponents who would argue that the current law does not truly limit access to care for Virginians. Consider the following hypothetical scenarios contrasting the adoption of HB1817 (A) versus the status quo (B). Scenario A: I move to a new area and establish a midwifery practice. New client Jane comes to me for a well woman visit, and I find a thyroid disorder. I refer her to Dr. E. It’s simple to refer and doesn't require any prior written agreement. I call and introduce myself to Dr. E and set up an appointment for Jane. Later she becomes pregnant and wants to see me for prenatal care. I collaborate with Dr. E as the pregnancy progresses, to ensure Jane maintains optimal thyroid levels. Now that Dr. E and I have a professional relationship, we continue to consult each other as needed. Scenario B: I move to a new area. I am not allowed to do the job I am qualified to do, unless a physician signs onto a written agreement to consult with me. Since Dr. E is not an OB/gyn, she doesn’t sign on. There is no local OB/gyn physician. Jane doesn’t have an annual well woman exam. Her thyroid disorder remains undiagnosed and worsens prior to conception, putting her at risk for pregnancy complications. There are 59 counties in VA with no OB/gyn, and more still with no CNM. This includes Amelia County, where my extended family lives. Health conditions don’t simply disappear when there is no one in the vicinity with the expertise to screen for them. None of my grandma’s physicians knew that the “sore” she had beneath her breast that just wouldn’t go away was actually breast cancer. I knew the moment I saw it, while I was visiting her in the hospital when she had back surgery in November 2019. She was discharged into assisted living from that hospital without receiving the breast imaging I had urged her hospital physician to order. It took two months more for her physician-led outpatient care team to get her the imaging that finally confirmed the diagnosis. We lost her in May, after months without being able to see her due to COVID-19 restrictions. HB1817 won’t undo the missed and delayed diagnoses that have resulted from maternity and gynecology provider shortages, but it will open the possibility for CNMs to start practices where they are needed most. Tana McCoull, CNM, FNP, Arlington VA

Last Name: Munson Organization: BirthCare & Women's Health Locality: Fairfax

The professional organizations preparing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Certified Midwives unwaveringly teach consultation and collaboration with MD's and other professionals as a standard of client care. NP, CNM, and CM's are all certified professionals who take an oath to do no harm. Malpractice insurance for a physician is steep and coverage of an additional provider (said professional currently required to have a written agreement with) is care-prohibitive.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Montclair

I am in favor of HB1817. Current laws require CNMs to practice with a signed practice agreement with a doctor. this is a hurdle to practice for MANY midwives (leading to a shortage of CNM-owned practices both in and out of the hospital). CNMs will ALWAYS work in consultation/collaboration with OBs. It is a clear aspect of training and scope of practice. However, requiring OBs to sign an agreement for their "competition" has obvious flaws.

Last Name: Schooley Locality: Falls Church

I would support CNMs being able to practice without the written consent of an OB as it seems clear that they consult with OBs as necessary. I support HB 1817.

Last Name: Komp Locality: Holmen

Certified nurse midwives provide much-needed care in many areas, especially rural areas. They bring safe and affordable care to those who may not have it. They are specially trained birth professionals that work in collaboration with obstetricians as a normal scope of practice. They are fully qualified to practice independently and should not need a collaborative agreement with a physician. This should be seen as a conflict of interest, as midwives serve the same community as the obstetrician. Certified nurse midwives need to be utilized to their fullest extent to allow for safe and cost-effective care. Not only do they provide birth services, they provide primary care for the woman across nearly her entire life span. The certified nurse midwife Please any central role in the healthcare of our population. It is said that the health of a mother and her children can directly measure the health of the next generation. Certified nurse midwives need the autonomy to practice independently without physician collaboration agreement.

Last Name: Ladha Locality: Fairfax

There are 70 counties in VA that have no OB providers at all. This is a huge barrier for women to obtain prenatal care, which means they either may not establish care at all or late and/or may have to travel far distances to see a provider. Having qualified and certified midwives in these instances will help decrease neonatal morbidity and improve maternal care

Last Name: Klaus Locality: Annandale

Please support HB1817 so our wonderful and capable certified nurse midwives can practice without the need for partnering OBs to declare them competition and so midwives may continue to meet the needs of women and babies. Thank you.

Last Name: Marin Organization: Centreville OBGYN Locality: Prince William County, working in Fairfax County

I work with 3 OBGYNs and therefore this bill does not directly affect my current ability to provide care to women. Nor does it affect my employment. However, my OBGYNs do provide back-up services to several of the area CNMs, CMs, and CPMs. None of these area midwives have paid my OBGYNs a fee to maintain a practice agreement. Why is that? Because it is unnecessary. Because any professional refers a patient who is out of their comfort zone to another professional - one who has more expertise. This is no different than an OBGYN referring to a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist to manage a fetal disorder, or a hematologist to manage a patient with an inherited clotting disorder. Patients are referred to specialists out of clinical need for another level of care. Not because of a signature on a piece of paper (which for some reason usually involves money - otherwise known as a bribe). Even though we do not have practice agreements with several of the area midwives (who must have practice agreements with other OBGYNs), they still bring patients to us. We provide the quality care that they expect for their beloved clientele. We earn the trust of the patients and the midwives. No one is beholden to some piece of paper. I would go as far as saying that OBGYNs should refer normal pregnant and laboring women to midwives! Wouldn't it be something if every OBGYN was required to maintain an agreement with a midwife? Someone to send patients to who were NORMAL. So they could get pregnancy and birth care that would not set them up for surgical birth, or complications from lying on their backs in labor for 20 hours. (Both of which set a woman up for a dangerous blood clot). Someone who would keep them from getting an infection in their amniotic fluid if their water broke too early. An infection is a big deal: often meaning a baby is admitted to a NICU and a mom is at risk for complications in the early weeks postpartum. The best way to take care of all the women in Virginia is to let the patients choose who they want to see for well-woman, pregnancy, birth, and post part care. Let the free market dictate the results - everyone should have a choice of family doctor, midwife, or OBGYN. Let the safety statistics and outcomes speak for themselves. Let the professional organizations continue to oversee the quality metrics. Midwives will continue to send women with any complications to the OBGYNs who are skilled in managing those complications. In the meantime, remove the barriers to this excellent midwifery care for normal families.

Last Name: Weaver Organization: BirthCare and Women’s Health Locality: Ft. Washington, MD

My name is Martha Weaver. I am a certified nurse-midwife practicing since 1985 in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland and I am writing in support of HB 1817. I work at BirthCare and Women’s Health, a private free standing birth center, home birth and well-woman service that provides obstetrical and gynecological care to healthy women through their childbearing years and beyond. It is located at 1501 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. BirthCare is a business that opened in 1987 and has been providing prenatal and postpartum care, delivering babies, and practicing well-woman gynecology for the last 33 years. Our owner, Marsha Jackson, is a black nurse-midwife with 40 years of experience leading midwifery practice and establishing excellent standards for out-of-hospital obstetrical care and birth in the Washington, DC Metro area. As a Black-owned business, BirthCare has assisted over 5700 families during their births and served thousands more with well-woman gynecological care. Approximately 25-30% of our clients are black families who benefit greatly from an individualized midwifery model of care which encourages client self-advocacy and provides close one-to-one monitoring and support during the prenatal, Intrapartum and postpartum periods. However, our practice has been restricted unduly by the Virginia Law that requires a signed consultation agreement with local obstetricians in the area. The current requirement for medical oversight in the form of a signed consultant agreement is unnecessary since our business already complies with the national practice requirements and standards set by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMBC), the American College of Certified Nurse Midwives, and the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC). Further, this requirement has placed an undue burden on our company when our medical consultants have faced personal health challenges or retirement that forced them to withdraw their services to BirthCare. Locating other consultants to fulfill this legal requirement has at times been a challenge and a barrier to practice which in turn, threatened to restrict access to care for mothers and babies in Virginia.

Last Name: Turpin Locality: Fairfax

I support these the bills and anything helping the public get care from nurse prescribers, especially certified nurse midwives. These providers offer excellent services and outcomes for less expense and should be promoted where possible. Certified nurse midwives will always work with OBs, but it's hard for them to find a competitor to sign off on their practices.

Last Name: Uray Locality: Lynchburg

I am a board certified OBGYN, in practice for more than 30 years. I have worked with Certified Nurse Midwives my entire career. My experience has been in multiple practice models. I have been privileged to work as an employer of CNMs as part of an integrated practice, as a Residency Faculty Women’s Health Director with CNMs providing the majority of the educational and clinical experience for Family Medicine Residents and as an independent OBGYN providing consultative services for CNM managed patients. I have worked with both new grads and 20 plus year veteran CNMs. My interactions have been overwhelmingly positive. CNMs and CMs are well trained consummate professionals. They provide the necessary care to our most vulnerable citizens. CNMs, all of the evidence supports, have proven to be able to bridge the health disparity chasm that exists in this country. To force these caring, compassionate and exceedingly competent women’s health care providers to form legal alliances which might prevent their ability to take care of these at -risk women makes no sense. In my community, our CNM run midwifery practice is legally and financially bound to a local MD – OBGYN practice. They cannot continue to provide care to the hundreds of women whom they currently serve without this arrangement. The passage of H.B. 1817 would allow these skilled and highly motivated professionals to provide much needed care to more of this severely underserved population here in Central Virginia. They would be able to care for patients from Farmville to Danville - an area sorely lacking in medical providers in general, and OBGYN care more specifically. Collaborative care and appropriate consultation is a fundamental part of what CNMs are taught. It does not require legislative mandate for this to occur. I fully endorse and support without reservation, the passage of H.B. 1817.

Last Name: Dodds Locality: Arlington

HB1817 will increase access to CNMs and offer women more options for birth care. It is not fair for CNMs to be required to have support from their “competition.”

Last Name: Moran Organization: new Locality: Falls Church

Requiring OBs to sign off on work of someone who takes away business from them limits the public’s access to safe CMNs.

Last Name: Middleton Locality: Alexandria

Please support HB 1817. Thank you

Last Name: Middleton Locality: Alexandria

Thank you

Last Name: Kelly Locality: McLean

My name is Karen Kelly, I am a graduate prepared, board-Certified Midwife. I live in Virginia and maintain my license in New York where Certified Midwives(CMs) and Certified Nurse-Midwives(CNMs) have Full Practice Authority, and no need for an unnecessary written practice agreement. Midwifery and medicine have overlapping but distinct education and training that reflects our different scopes of practice. The recognition of doctors and midwives as equal and complementary partners in reproductive health care requires respect for our relative fields of expertise and it makes no sense to tie the ability of the individual midwife to function within the health system to the inclination or availability of any one physician. Our education and competency standards follow rigorous national accreditation and validation. We must prove ourselves able to diagnose, manage, treat, consult and refer independently, prior to graduation and sitting for our boards. Passing HB1817 means CNMs will continue to practice identically to how they already do and as they were trained to do, according to our nationally recognized Standards of Practice and state regulations. Required written collaborative agreements limit the ability of midwives to serve areas already suffering from a shortage of obstetric care providers, while increasing costs that get passed along to patients and tax payers. States with full practice authority have approximately twice the workforce of midwives per 1,000 births than do states where CNM practice is more restricted. Given that over 50% of counties in Virgina do not have any maternity care, it is our responsibility to be doing everything we can to increase midwifery access. As recently published in the Lancet, “A substantial increase in midwifery coverage could avert 41% of maternal deaths, 39% of neonatal deaths, and 26% of stillbirths, whereas a modest increase in coverage could still avert 22% of maternal deaths, 23% of neonatal deaths, and 14% of stillbirths. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Action Plan to Improve Maternal Health in America encourages states to eliminate scope-of-practice barriers that prevent care being delivered by midwives. Full licensure increases the supply of women’s health care providers and improves Virginians’ access to high-quality maternal, gynecologic, and primary care especially in rural and underserved areas. Collaborative agreements affect, among other things, hospital privileges, third-party reimbursement, the ability to contract with telehealth providers and midwives’ desire for to move to Virginia in the first place, when better work environments exist in bordering states. As you know, Virginia has an increasing maternal and infant mortality crisis, with marked racial and ethnic disparities. One contributing factor to this crisis is the fragmentation of preconception, prenatal and postpartum care. Full Practice Authority for Certified Nurse-Midwives is a known, recommended solution to this fragmentation, by strengthening access to quality women’s health care, especially in those communities with least access. Thank you for your consideration on this important matter.

Last Name: Pavluk Locality: Arlington

Hello, Forcing an OB to have an agreement with their "competition" has obvious dangers. Vote NO!

Last Name: Gottlieb Locality: Fairfax

I believe we need to empower Certified Nurse Midwives to practice safely, and remove as many legislative hurdles as possible. By making it difficult for CNMs to practice, we are encouraging women to seek out the care of less-trained midwives. As a NICU nurse, I have seen more than my share of failed home births, and I would love to see more trained CNMs in practice and fewer lay midwives.

Last Name: Tarter Locality: Fairfax

I would like to strongly urge you to support HB1817 to allow CNMs to practice without a written collaboration agreement with an OB. This severely restricts practice and further aggravates access to medical care for pregnant women. The reality is that CNMs will already consult with an OB for medical problems outside of their scope of practice (this is what they are trained to do). Requiring midwives to have a written agreement from the OB counterparts (who are also often their “competition”) often proves to be problematic.

Last Name: Kell Locality: Leesburg

Homebirths would save the U.S. millions of dollars each year. With CNMs, homebirths are usually the healthiest, best options for low-risk pregnancies. Make it more accessible to more women!

Last Name: Gustafson Locality: Springfield, VA

In favor of House Bill HB 1817. Current laws require CNMs to practice with a signed practice agreement with a doctor. This is a hurdle to practice for MANY midwives (leading to a shortage of CNM-owned practices both in and out of the hospital). CNMs will ALWAYS work in consultation/collaboration with OBs. It is a clear aspect of their training and scope of practice. However, requiring OBs to sign an agreement for their "competition" has obvious flaws.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Fairfax, VA

The current requirement for Certified Nurse Midwives to have a signed physician agreement results in 1) Decreased safety for women2) Restriction of trade3) Higher cost for maternity care for all women including uninsured. HB1817 would reverse these problems. Increased safety: Certified Nurse Midwives are an essential part of maternity care for many low risk women.  Women who are not sick are best served by these providers, resulting in better outcomes (breastfeeding rates, vaginal birth rates, higher satisfaction with care).  Many other developed countries with maternal and neonatal outcomes far exceeding ours use midwives for all of their low-risk care and OBs for high risk care.  When fewer CNMs are available, more women are subject to choosing between high intervention (expensive and potentially dangerous) care or unattended births. CNMs able to practice within the full scope of our license: Requiring "permission" to practice from competitors is not something that would be acceptable within any other field.  It would be considered a restriction of trade.  For example: We know that primary care doctors are not experts in every field and that if the need arises they will need to consult with specialists (cardiologists, psychiatrists, etc).  However, we would never expect the specialists to give permission to the PCP to practice.  Similarly, all CNMs acknowledge the need for OBs in their capacities as surgeons and as specialists in maternal disease.  We have become CNMs because we want to maintain our specialty in low-risk, normal pregnancy and birth and are happy to refer as appropriate for any of the many problems we are skilled at identifying.  We have bachelors degrees in Nursing and masters degrees in Midwifery.  Our educational and license requirements mirror those of Nurse Practitioners. Physicians are happy to receive referrals from midwives, but requiring them to sign a "practice agreement" gives them the false sense of liability and the opportunity to eliminate competition. Lower Cost: The type of low-intervention care that midwives offer both in and out of the hospital provide the lowest-cost care with the best outcomes.  Obstetrics is known to be a field in which increasing cost does not lead to improved outcomes in the low-risk population, however overuse of diagnostics, induction, and surgical deliveries at the expense of lower face-to-face care, listening and education account for much of the contradictory outcomes.   Please support HB 1817 to allow CNMs to serve all low-risk women who wish to have this kind of care.  Eliminating the signed practice agreement requirement in no way changes the need or ability to consult, refer, or transfer clients as appropriate.  This is how we have been trained.  Our clients' safety is our job.  Our pride and job satisfaction come from our ability to deliver cost effective care with excellent outcomes.  We will always need OBs to be a part of our care plan for those cases that warrant it, but asking for a signed practice agreement eliminates midwives thereby decreasing safety and increasing cost for women and their families. Story Jones, CNM 703-534-0373

Last Name: Spellman Locality: Chesapeake

My name is Yanna Spellman, a Full Spectrum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor. I am in favor of HB1817. I believe this should pass because it will give more options to the families I serve. One hundred percent of my clients are Black families. They need options to birth where they feel safe and with CNMs who give more intimate care.

Last Name: Meslar-Little, Deborah Locality: Crozet

Support HB1817. I am a retired Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). Please vote for this bill; for the removal of a huge barrier to CNM practice; that of the requirement for a signed consultation with an MD. The Certified Nurse Midwife is a fully licensed and certified provider of care who is able to practice independently by virtue of training and certification. There is an immediate and critical need for CNM services in the Commonwealth and the CNM has been shown repeatedly to be a safe, affordable and satisfying provider of obstetric and gynecological services. Consultation with an OB/GYN MD is a routine part of providing safe and effective care; however, requesting a signed agreement creates an unnecessary burden on both maternal health care providers. I urge the House to vote in favor of removing the signed agreement requirement to increase access to safe and effective maternity care in the Commonwealth. Thank you. Sincerely, Deborah Meslar-Little, NP, CNM

Last Name: Mojzak Locality: Midlothian

My name is Patti Mojzak, CNM, WHNP. I am writing in support of HB 1817; I believe we can achieve improved outcomes for women and babies in Virginia if CNMs are given the freedom to practice independently. The notion that without the agreement we midwives would practice outside of our scope and not consult or collaborate appropriately is absurd. I consult and collaborate with physicians not because a written agreement somewhere says I should, but because in some cases it is appropriate and necessary to deliver excellent care to my patients. My top priority is always my patients’ safety. Independent practice for CNMs is not a brand new idea. It has been implemented in many states and there is no evidence that outcomes have suffered. Please pass HB 1817, and make it easier for the women of Virginia to access evidence based ObGyn care.

Last Name: Patterson Locality: Albemarle county

Madam chair and members of the sub-committee, I have been a midwife client 4 times, a midwife‘s assistant, a doula for home and hospital births, and recently was involved in hiring a midwife for my first grandchild. We chose a Certified Nurse Midwife because of her excellent education, training, and safety record. We were highly satisfied with the professional and personalized care our family received from the CNM. Her care was thorough, attentive to detail, and safe. I have since been surprised to learn that CNMs in Virginia are required to have a signed agreement with a physician in order to practice, even though they don't need this in 28 other states. I am concerned that other families may not have access to a CNM because of the barrier, which is a restraint of trade, and does not improve safety.  Please support HB 1817 and remove this barrier to CNM practice, so they may continue to serve mothers and babies in the Commonwealth. Respectfully, Bunny Patterson

Last Name: Wardlaw Locality: Chesapeake

Madam Chairman and the members of the subcommittee my name is Nichole Wardlaw and I am a Certified Nurse Midwife speaking in favor of HB1817 which will grant Certified Nurse Midwives full practice authority in the commonwealth of Virginia. As a midwife with 15 years of experience and trained at the Medical University of SC I have chosen to work in communities of color where my presence has been more effective. While doing this work I realized that I had to be the change that I wanted to see and the only way to do that is to work on policy that would allow myself and my colleagues to work to the full scope of our training and education thus my current role as the legislative chair of the Virginia Affiliate of the ACNM. These policy changes include being able to practice to my full ability without a piece of paper that tells me to do what I do already: consult, collaborate and refer as needed. Right now we are in a maternal health crisis. The CDC reports that African American women are three times as likely to die in childbirth as their white counterparts. That increases to five times as high when college educated. In Virginia African American women are twice as likely to die in childbirth. For me this is personal and speaks to my community, my families and my daughters. Historically the narrative of safety and need for tighter regulations of midwives is what has caused this maternal crisis especially within the black and brown communities. The evidence shows that midwives have better outcomes. The midwifery integration scores study reports that midwives when integrated into maternal health systems there is a reduction in cesarean rates, low birth weight and premature babies and maternal mortality and morbidity. This I knew but the most relevant finding in this study was the reduction of the gap between black and white women in maternal mortality and morbidity as well as the other measures/outcomes stated. In other words, the disparity was no longer present. The HHS action plan for maternal health that was just completed is significant in its finding regarding racial disparities and access to care. Increasing the maternal workforce, specifically midwives and doulas, are a priority in addressing these issues. Midwives can help address the shortage of maternity and reproductive health service providers and improve preventable maternal deaths and morbidity. Decades of research and hundreds of studies have documented that care by Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Midwives (CMs) is safe and the most prudent use of increasingly scarce resources. We keep talking the problem but what are we doing about the solution. We can no longer keep doing the same things and expect different results. Let us pass HB1817 so that Certified Nurse Midwives can practice to our full potential and actively participate in the solution while changing the outcomes for the better. In conclusion I thank you for your time and leave you with this quote “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

Last Name: Bouchard Organization: American College of Nurse Midwives: Virginia Affiliate Locality: Arlington

Chairman and members of the Health and Human Services Committee. My name is Mary Ellen Bouchard and I am a Certified Nurse-Midwife. I am also former academic faculty at Yale University and clinical faculty in several nurse-midwifery graduate programs. Bill HB 1817 is significant for the opportunity to remove the mandated written collaborative agreement with physicians. Thank you for this opportunity to testify for HB1817. I am a Virginia resident and homeowner in Virginia for well over 20 years. I am also a Certified Nurse-Midwife with a graduate degree licensed in Virginia, and a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). I fell in love with Virginia while attending the Georgetown University Nurse Midwifery program for a Master’s degree. After graduation and passing the certification board exam, I worked as a certified nurse midwife in Massachusetts before being recruited to a faculty position at Yale University in the Nurse-Midwifery Graduate Program. Leadership positions and previous clinical experience as a nurse in neonatal intensive care units in Boston and a transport team serving the New England area proved to be valuable in educating nurse-midwives. I taught academic and didactic classes, worked in the faculty practice providing 24 hour on-call obstetric care and births, counseled and cared for pregnant women, provided gynecological care, coordinated and lectured in courses educating midwives-to-be in the multi-faceted role they were choosing to take on and serve. I also taught a Health Policy course under a federal grant given to several midwifery programs that has now become a key and essential piece of nurse-midwifery education for all midwifery programs. And when we could, the faculty slept. Moving back to Virginia, I, as well as most other midwives, served as a preceptor for midwifery students from Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Frontier Nursing, South Carolina University, and others. However, the laws for nurse-midwifery practice were such that nurse-midwives were still tethered to physicians. Although highly educated, skilled, and accomplished, nurse-midwives must obtain jobs from physicians or physician groups or pay a hefty fee for physician consultation, collaboration, and transfer to satisfy the law. This is still true. Grateful to serve women, babies, and the families of Virginia, we pay the fees or work in situations to satisfy the law. Our professional responsibilities have not changed. We still care for women for obstetric, gynecological, and primary care. This remains the current situation keeping us tethered to physicians in a false sense of security and limiting our ability to serve the women of Virginia. When I manage a labor and birth, the responsibility is mine. If I consult with a physician, it is a consultation and discussion until such time as I transfer the care to a physician. The statute for practice should reflect this through removal of the requirement for written collaborative agreements with a physician.

Last Name: Sheppard Locality: Harrisonburg

Midwifery is not an unknown medical provider showing up to a birth with no information but what is written on a chart. It is a trusted medical professional giving you one-on-one attention to welcome your child into the personal atmosphere of your home. Someone who has the expertise and the experience to guide families through the process of pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum care. I have had three home births by midwives who know me and my medical needs. I could not imagine giving birth with nurses and doctors who simply happened to be on call and did not know me personally. Home births with CNMs have facilitated birth experiences that empowered me and made me the confident mother I am today. They have made me feel powerful and capable. Without this care option, I would feel constrained and forced to violate my conscience. It would change the culture of our family, the liberty we are entitled to, and would negatively affect the life and health of our family. Women need this option for child birth to be MORE available, not to have to jump more hurdles to find CNMs in their area. I can personally attest that my three births with a midwife were safe, professional, wonderful experiences and I would not have any mother forced to choose a lesser option because CNMs were not readily available in their area. Please vote to allow CNMs to more easily provide care to mothers like me.

Last Name: Bruce Locality: Albemarle Countu

I am a mother of three beautiful babies, and am asking that you support this bill to help mothers continue to make their own choices for their births. After two negative and very stressful hospital birth experiences, I chose to have my third baby at home with the support of a midwife. I chose a CNM (Kelly Sicoli) because I wanted the combination of medical knowledge and personal care and attention. I really appreciated the midwifery model of individualized, compassionate care and felt very safe with her level of expertise. She submitted all routine lab work and always referred me to other providers as needed such as a maternal specialist doctor for prenatal ultrasound and physical therapy for pre and post-natal exercises. I feel it is essential for women to have options when it comes to all their health choices but especially for something as important and personal as their maternity care provider, including independently practicing CNMs. Without this bill, some CNMs may no longer be able to practice, taking away the option of a safe and medically supervised home birth for many mothers.

Last Name: Sicoli Locality: Albemarle

SUPPORT HB1817 I have been practicing as a CNM in Virginia for 9 years, serving over 400 families for their pregnancies and births. I have also practiced in Alaska, Washington DC, and Maryland, three of the 28 states where CNMs practice independently. Practicing in Virginia, where we’re currently required to have a signed consultation agreement, has been more difficult. I am fortunate to currently have a consulting agreement with a physician, however my ability to practice is dependent on this physician’s willingness and ability to maintain this signed agreement. If this physician retires or moves, I may no longer be able to serve the many families who are counting on my services. Passing HB 1817 and removing this requirement will not change the way we CNMs practice. We will continue to consult, collaborate and refer as we always have with the appropriate provider. HB1817 will simply ensure that we are not reliant on a signed document with a physician in order to keep our practices open. With the shortage of maternity care providers in Virginia, we should be supporting well-trained, highly educated providers such as CNMs, and removing barriers to their ability to serve families in our Commonwealth.

Last Name: Page Organization: VA ACNM Locality: Lynchburg

I am Katie Page, a Certified Nurse-Midwife and fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. I serve as the president of the Virginia Affiliate of this organization which represents CNMs and Certified Midwives (CMs). I am also the chair of the Professional Liability Committee for the national organization. I am writing to ask your support of HB 1817. I am speaking to safety and competency of AMCB certified midwives. Midwifery care for CNMs and CMs is based on the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice, the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery, the Philosophy of ACNM, and the Code of Ethics. This framework is the foundation for clinical competency and patient safety. These standards and competencies adhere to international standards and guidelines for safe and competent entry level midwives. ACOG in their national guide on team-based care recommends that states rely on these uniform clinical guidelines and standards set by professional associations when licensing and regulating professionals. We meet these standards of competence prior to graduating and being granted admission to take our Board certifying examination. Our accrediting body for midwifery education mandates that we attend minimum of 60 individuals in labor with at least 35 where we are primary birth attendant. All CNM/CMs have attended this minimum prior to certification. The ACNM Position Statement on Independent Midwifery Practice is explicit that “independent” does not mean alone and that any prudent clinician will seek advice of other qualified clinicians. Collaboration can only occur where there is mutual respect and communication and where each professional provides care within their scope of practice. Our care incorporates appropriate consultation, collaboration, and referral as indicated by the health status of the individual receiving midwifery care. Midwives build relationships in their communities and regions with other clinicians. It is these relationships and our standards that lead to safe outcomes for people receiving care by midwives. In 2020, when the requirement for consultation agreements was lifted for the pandemic by Executive Order 57, there were zero disciplinary cases of CNMs before the Joint Boards of Nursing and Medicine. Members of our organization have found it challenging to open their own community-based practice because no provider in their area (sometimes region) will enter into a consultation agreement, though these providers have no objection to seeing patients when referred from the midwife. So, these clinicians will practice consultation and collaboration, but will not sign a legal document – the required agreement. Many practices that are part of large corporate offices or hospitals are restricted from having consultation agreements with midwives outside of the organization. In addition, many midwives have reported the experience of a request for payment in order to be available for routine or as needed consultation under the written agreement. Physicians fear increased liability by entering these agreements. 70 counties in Virginia are without a midwife and over 50 without an OBGYN. Independent practice for midwifery will increase our workforce’s ability to meet these needs.

Last Name: Thiagarajah Organization: Prenatal Diagnosis, Ultrasound and Gynecology Locality: Charlottesville

My name is Dr Siva Thiagarajah. I am a high risk OB/GYN in practice for over 35 years in Charlottesville. I am writing in support of HB 1817. I have worked with a number of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) over the past 24 years. In my experience with both in hospital and homebirth CNMs, I have found they are very aware of their knowledge and skills and the limits of the same. They have consistently consulted and collaborated in an appropriate manner and time frame-irrespective of any agreements. They are exceptionally well trained in providing care throughout pregnancy as well as for women’s general gynecological needs. Further, they truly excel in their care of laboring women. Being required to have consultation agreement in order to practice is redundant. It does not confer safety-CNMs have a long and excellent track record of safety. What it does is create a barrier to their ability to work that is unfair and unnecessary. It is discrimination against a class of very competent and committed practitioners. I respectfully submit that the time is now to remove this burden, please support HB 1817.

Last Name: Butler Locality: Charlottesville

I would like to express my support for the HB1817 bill. I gave birth to my first born two weeks ago at home with the support and care of my CNM. In a time like this, a hospital birth would only allow one person to support me during labor. Having a home birth, I was able to have the support of my husband, mother and sister along with my CNM. My labor was three day and two nights long. My CNM supported me and my baby and my family the entire time. We had a very healthy birth and recovery. My CNM stitched up a small tear that I had and closely monitored my healing. I was able to stay in the safety and comfort of my bed without exposing myself or my newborn to a hospital environment. I also don’t have health insurance and so I would have had to pay about $17,000 more to give birth in a hospital. I have high respect for my CNM and we have developed a close relationship. She is also the CNM that helped my mom deliver my sisters over 20 years ago. I want CNMs to have more freedom because home births are much safer for healthy moms and babies. They are also much more affordable and allow for a more calm environment. Please give CNMs the freedom to practice without a physicians consent so that I am assured access to a CNM for my future children.

Last Name: Elmore Organization: Concerned citizen advocating for the midwifery model of care - CNMs Locality: Albemarle

Dear Delegates, I am writing to advocate for the Practice of Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) HB 1817. I gave birth to my second child last summer during the pandemic. When I got pregnant I had all intentions to give birth in a hospital but after the pandemic hit, the practice I was planning on joining (we were also moving during the pandemic) would no longer accept new clients. I reached out to other practices and it as much the same, not accepting new clients. I had no idea what to do. And then I found my CNM. I feel beyond fortunate to have not only found my midwife who took me on as a client in May but to have had the opportunity to experience a home birth (as it wasn't in my original plan). It was beautiful, peaceful, and I can't imagine my birth experience playing out any other way. I was already struggling with prenatal anxiety and the pandemic and my CNM made me feel safe, supported, and cared for beyond any experience I had had with my first child/delivery. She was experienced, knowledgeable, and prepared for any situation. The midwifery model of care is designed to not only take care of the baby but the mother as well. Women and families deserve the opportunity to have this experience. During my time with her, my anxiety lessened, my baby was born without complications, and my postpartum recovering was faster than with my first child. Thank you for listening. I hope you support this bill. Best, Joya Elmore

Last Name: Manos Locality: Crozet

To the Health, Welfare and Institutions - Health Professions Subcommittee: My name is Milena Manos, I am a resident of Crozet, VA, and I am writing in support of H1817. Ten months ago, my CNM helped my first-born son into this world. Today I am writing this testimony because the midwife model of care allowed me the freedom to choose the care during one of the most important times in a family's journey together - pregnancy, delivery and the first days with a newborn. My husband and I knew from the moment we learnt that I was pregnant that we wanted our baby to be delivered by a midwife in the safety and comfort of our own home. The choice as to where, how, and with whose help to deliver a baby is one of the most personal and meaningful choices I have made as a woman transitioning to motherhood. My CNM was very competent, experienced and professional, and I received state-of-the-art medical care. She referred me to other providers as needed (including for ultrasound, physical therapy etc.) and coordinated directly with them on test results. I felt safe and comfortable throughout the entire experience, from the first prenatal visit to the check-up visit a few weeks after birth. This was not just because of the fact that statistically speaking, midwife-attended births tend to be safer for mothers and babies and involve fewer interventions, but also because of my personal experience, the attention and excellent medical care I received. It is challenging to express in words the respect and gratitude I have for my CNM in helping me to have the safe, meaningful birth experience that I wanted. My family is fortunate enough to live in an area where midwife care is available but in so many cities and counties in Virginia, no such options exist. Where CNMs cannot find a physician who is willing to sign a consulting agreement, they are forced to close their practice and move to another state, for example Maryland, which does not impose such burdensome requirements and restraints on this sector of the medical profession. As a result, fewer and fewer options for maternity care are available to citizens of Virginia where there is already a shortage in many counties. Independently practicing CNMs are a critical piece in Virginia's medical system and the options women have in delivering their babies. I urge you to support H1817 as a way to increase access to midwife care for pregnant women in the Commonwealth, improve outcomes and protect women's choices on how to welcome a new life into this world.  Sincerely, Milena Manos

Last Name: Biber Locality: Albemarle County

Hi there, I am writing to voice my support of CNM’s and the midwifery model of care. As a mother of two, I cannot imagine wanting my prenatal, birth and postpartum experience to be altered in any way. I felt supported, heard and safe throughout the entire process. My personal CNM, Kelly Sicoli, used her vast resource network to ensure any additional care I was interested in/needed was available - specifically, she helped schedule an ultrasound and referred me to a fantastic chiropractor. Carrying and delivering a child is a vulnerable experience and having the choice of a CNM was paramount in assuaging my nerves. A consulting agreement is an unnecessary and difficult barrier for CNMs that I hope to not see implemented in Virginia. Sincerely, Abbey Biber

Last Name: Steeves Locality: Albemarle

Regarding HB 1817: I have been a Certified Nurse Midwife in Virginia for 26 years. My birth practice has been almost entirely in community settings, at birth centers and in the home. The population that I serve is largely Mennonite families. Culturally they trust birth and prefer community midwives . They are also mostly self pay clients and access to safe, home birth and birth center options is a considerable saving to them, over a hospital birth. The challenge of finding a supervising or now a consulting physician predated my tenure. CNM’s have a long and proven track record of providing excellent care to the low risk mothers and babies we care for. We are grateful for access to our obstetrical colleagues and hospital care when needed. We are able to access any laboratory work, ultrasounds or specialist consultations that we need. We have excellent working relationships with physicians and hospitals in our communities. What is very problematic to obtain is a signature to attest to relationships that we already have without a signature. As hospitals have bought up physician practices and practices have consolidated, it has become even more difficult. There are very few solo physicians and even fewer solo obstetricians around who are able to commit for themselves without pulling a ship behind them in agreement. When the few solo practitioners retire, many community midwifery practices may have to close. Hence, the requirement of a signed consultative agreement is a restraint of trade for Nurse Midwives. It does not improve safety, and it is a barrier to access to care for our clients. We need independence of practice, like 28 (and counting) other states in the in the country. It is long overdue in the state of Virginia. Thank you for your time and attention to this critical matter for Virginia moms and babies.

Last Name: Mathis Locality: Orange County

I am a Certified Nurse Midwife who has proudly served the members of the Commonwealth for 13 years. I have been called into the profession of midwifery and believe that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to care for families, however, the restrictive licensure language in this state has made it challenging to provide the care that I been trained to do. In 2009, I opened a non-profit practice to provide Nurse-Midwifery care to low-income families. Prior to opening our practice, there were many women who came to the hospital to birth without ever having seen a provider for care during their pregnancies. Many women had medical concerns that were unaddressed due to a lack of prenatal care and many women were discharged home without plans for medical follow-up after their pregnancies ended. We were entrusted with the care of nearly 1,000 families during our tenure; members of our community who needed high-quality, affordable healthcare. My midwife colleagues and I were able to reduce the rates of preterm labor and preterm birth in a population of women that were similar to women receiving care at our local health department, by half. We were faced with many, many challenges due to the refusal of physicians to collaborate with us in our mission to care for the underserved. Despite being a Certified Nurse Midwife owned and operated practice with a combined 50 + years of professional nursing expertise, our ability to secure additional care for our patients with providers in other specialties, the ability to obtain lab contracts, and the ability to order diagnostic studies were often predicated on having a supervising physician relationship. I can only imagine how much more good could have been accomplished if the time we spent dealing with the restraint of the requirement for signed physician collaborative agreements, was spent serving and providing affordable, high-quality care for more members of our community. I sincerely thank you for presenting this bill for review. The families of the Commonwealth of Virginia need greater access to the care provided by nurse-midwives. Approval of HB 1817 will ensure that more midwives have the ability to care for women and families, and more families have access to midwives, without the barriers created by the need for collaborative agreements with physicians.

Last Name: Ward Organization: Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Locality: Altavista

I am the current president of the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and am writing to support our certified nurse midwife colleagues. Allowing advanced practice nurses to practice to their full extent of education and certification improves access to care for Virginia residents, improves quality outcomes, and reduces cost. I support HB1817 to eliminate the requirement that certified nurse midwives must have a practice agreement. The practice agreement requirement is a barrier to patient care and discourages certified nurse midwives to practice in Virginia.

Last Name: Tucker Locality: Arlington, VA

I am a Certified Nurse Midwife and I have been in practice in Virginia for nearly five years. I am opening a practice that will reach many women - I will be offering in home health care services across the life span. However, I am not going to be able to bring my practice to Virginia (where I live) due to the burdensome requirement for a practice agreement with a physician. All of the physicians I have talked to either aren't allowed to take freelance agreements such as this, or they have told me they would be able to do this if I pay them 10,000 dollars for the first year of the agreement which I am unable to do as a small business owner. Due to this mandate, I will instead be providing services to women in Maryland and the District of Columbia, neither of which has this requirement. Neither state has seen quality of care indicators fall since removing this requirement for Certified Nurse Midwives. Due to this mandate I won't be able to maintain my business presence in this state or hire any employees or pay my business taxes here. Please change this outdated requirement. Virginia women and families deserve as much access to care as their counterparts in DC and Maryland, and this burdens them as well as their care providers. Virginia removed the physician agreement requirement on a temporary basis during COVID-19, and has not seen any patient safety issues. Midwives practice safely in this state without collaborating physicians already, and just need to be allowed to continue doing so.

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

It is essential to address the demand for healthcare in a practical way - and these proposals are safe, evidence based, and needed. HB1987: Reimbursement for remote patient monitoring is proven to improve quality of care, lower readmissions, and lower travel and treatment costs. Remote patient monitoring is an essential benefit that allows patients to leave the hospital and get the same quality of care at home. For high risk pregnancies, it can cost as little as $26 a day to provide this service with higher convenience, better care, and keeps a hospital bed open for someone else who might need it more. Compare that to a $5,000 a day stay in the hospital with lower convenience, higher costs, and lower satisfaction. The Governor wisely removed reimbursement barriers to providers to offer this service to those suffering COVID-19 with great results. Virginians deserve access to this benefit and remote patient monitoring needs to be reimbursed immediately. HB1737: Nurse practitioners have safely served their communities with 2 years experience during the pandemic, and states across the country already allow for them to practice with the scope of practice with less restrictions that we have in Virginia. We need frontline healthcare workers practicing to their full capability and this reform achieves that safely. HB1747 / hb1817 : Enabling providers s to practice to their full capability is essential. Nurse practitioners deserve the opportunity be certified and practice according to their skills and education. This common-sense reform helps front line care providers to be more efficient and useful in serving in care deserts. In the same way, we should better leverage physician assistants in the field who could do more but are restricted by regulatory barriers. HB1769: Virginia law, unfortunately, puts walls between patients who are seeking care from licensed providers beyond our state lines. The commonwealth of Virginia does not care if a patient gets in the car and travels to another state to get treatment from an outstanding provider, but if a Virginia gets on the information highway, it can lead to criminal charges who is merely offering care to a Virginian in need of it. When the law was written, a phone was tethered to the kitchen wall. Today, our phones are supercomputers that can provide detailed healthcare information to a doctor in real-time. Our laws are still looking backwards in healthcare - not forward. Patient behavior is seeking better care with more convenience. This bill removes barriers between patients and providers across the country.

Last Name: Wright Locality: Glen Allen

I am for nurse practitioner to be able to practice without a doctor being there

Last Name: Foran Locality: Burke (Fairfax County)

To get the best healthcare outcome, you should have a highly educated doctor making the decisions, right? Maybe not. The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than in other developed countries. Our current approach to maternity care is not working. It’s time to let Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives have the autonomy to provide the kind of maternity care that exists in countries with better outcomes; countries where midwifery care is the norm. Over the 18 years that I have been a Certified Nurse-Midwife in Virginia, major changes in obstetric practice have occurred which are nothing more than a return to long-established midwifery practices. • no longer making women in labor lie on their back for fetal monitoring. • letting women drink fluids during labor. • giving women have more time to labor normally. • not making women start pushing before they are ready. • delaying cutting the umbilical cord so newborns can get all their stem cells. • keeping newborns in continuous, early physical contact with their mothers because it improves vital signs, breastfeeding success, and establishment of a healthy microbiome in the newborn. These and other midwifery practices never should have been abandoned in the first place, but our country put surgeons in charge of maternity care. Midwives are not only required, but happy and grateful, to consult physicians when the mother or her baby need such expertise. Women need us to fully employ our own expertise as well. Removing the requirement for a written consultation agreement makes that possible. Please support HB 1817. Thank you, Regina Foran, CNM

Last Name: Fehan Locality: Powhatan

To the Committee Chair and Distinguished Members: Re: HB 1817 Practice of Certified Nurse-Midwives, I am Leslie Fehan, CNM,WHNP-BC, IBCLC. I am a certified nurse midwife, women’s health nurse practitioner and board certified lactation consultant. I have worked in an advanced practice role for over 30 years and currently am the lead nurse midwife at an academic practice. Nurse midwives already are required to consult and collaborate with physicians based on licensure and standards of practice. It is critical to support and pass this bill to expand women’s health services for women and work to reduce maternal morbidly and mortality. The current requirement for a practice agreement creates a burdens barrier for practice for nurse midwives. I have experienced this personally, when a practice I worked for decided to end having non physician providers. I then was unable to practice as I had to have a physician agreement and could not get hospital privileges without a sponsoring physician. My ability to practice, to provide the care I have have been well trained , certified and licensed to provide should not be dependent on another provider. This just restricts access to care for families of Virginia. We know more midwives means improved outcomes for families, decreases maternal morbidity and mortality as well as reduces racial disparities. Please pas HB 1817 to recognize the autonomous practice of nurse midwives and expand care in Virginia

Last Name: McCoull Locality: Colonial Heights

Nurse practitioners are more qualified and more caring than most of the medical practitioners you deal with. They have the skills, the education and take time to hear their patients .

Last Name: Weight-Jeter Locality: Midlothian

I support these bills that will give nurse midwives, certified midwives and nurse practitioners autonomy and authority in their respective practice.

Last Name: Wright Organization: None Locality: Henrico County

Tying the NP/midwife to a doctor unfairly restricts access to providers who are credentialed and licensed to practice in the Commonwealth. The physicians are positioned to unreasonably limit or control access to more affordable health care options in low-risk scenarios because they may arbitrarily want to maintain economic superiority. Thank you for doing what is best for the patient.

Last Name: Long Locality: Charlottesville

I am a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), now retired after over 30 years as a midwifery clinician and educator. I completed my midwifery education in 1981, and also hold a master's degree in public health and a PhD in midwifery. I am a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. The requirement that CNMs maintain a formal agreement with a consultant physician in order to practice has the effect of denying CNMs who cannot find a consultant, or whose consultants retire or move away, the ability to practice their profession and earn a living. In some cases the CNM must pay a fee to the consultant physician to initiate such an agreement and/or to maintain it, further restricting the ability to practice of CNMs who cannot afford to pay these fees. When midwives are unable to practice, women are denied access to care that is safe and has excellent outcomes. Midwifery care is recognized as part of the solution to our appalling maternal mortality and morbidity rates as well as the high cost of maternity care and an absurdly high rate of cesarean section births following uncomplicated pregnancies. Requiring a formal agreement is redundant in that CNMs’ professional practice standards mandate that we work within our scope of practice at all times, and we collaborate, consult, or refer when the client’s needs or condition falls outside of that scope. We can be censured or decertified for failure to do so. In addition, the bill includes language that codifies the CNM's responsibility to consult. A family practitioner is trusted to consult with a specialist when the client’s needs dictate it, without the need for a formal agreement. Similarly should CNMs, as responsible professionals, be trusted to practice within our scope and without the need for a formal agreement . Thank you for considering my testimony.

Last Name: Page Organization: Virginia Affiliate of American College of Nurse-Midwives Locality: Lynchburg, VA

To the Committee Chair and Distinguished Members: Re: HB 1817 Practice of Certified Nurse-Midwives I am Katie Page, a Certified Nurse-Midwife and fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. I serve as the president of the Virginia Affiliate of this organization which represents CNMs and Certified Midwives (CMs). I am also the chair of the Professional Liability Committee for the national organization. I am writing to ask your support of HB 1817. I practice in the largest CNM group practice of its kind in the state. We provide full-scope care meaning we see people from puberty to beyond menopause and provide wellness, reproductive, menstrual, and perinatal care. We collaborate, consult, and refer to other physicians (primary care, family medicine, gastroenterology, dermatology, gynecology, etc.) based on the needs of the patient. In pregnancy, if a complication is found or suspected we order tests as needed and collaborate with an OBGYN or maternal fetal medicine physician. We have a consultation agreement with a private practice physician group. Most of our collaborative work occurs with professionals outside of that practice. This agreement, however, is required for us to continue to see patients, to prescribe medication we are trained to provide, or to order medication or supplies for our office such as rhogam to prevent blood transfusion reactions for some pregnant people and their babies and saline which is used for minor procedures or diagnostic tests. This is a small representation of our experience with a consultation agreement. Other members of our organization have found it challenging to open their own community-based practice because no provider in their area (sometimes region) will enter into a consultation agreement, though these providers have no objection to seeing patients when referred from the midwife. So, these clinicians will practice consultation and collaboration, but will not sign a legal document – the required agreement. Many practices that are part of large corporate offices or hospitals are restricted from having consultation agreements with midwives outside of the organization. In addition, many midwives have reported the experience of a request for payment in order to be available for routine or as needed consultation under the written agreement. Physicians fear increased liability by entering these arrangements, especially if the CNM is prescribing or providing care within the scope of midwifery but different from the physicians medical practice. Certified Nurse-Midwives, CNMs, have been licensed in Virginia to practice since 1975. Midwifery care is a distinct profession from nursing and medicine. We are educated at the masters and doctoral level complete clinical training hours that meet national and international standards for competency and scope of practice. We must meet competency standards before we can become board certified. These standards are available publicly from the American College of Nurse-Midwives – Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice and the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery. Central to and explicit in our standards and philosophy of care is collaboration, consultation and referral based on the needs of the patient. National nursing and medical organizations affirm our competency to practice independently – meaning without additional requirements for written agreements or supervision in order to be licensed to practice and prescribe.

Last Name: Loving Organization: Midwifes Locality: Chesterfield

Addressing topics for perspective is a form of growth.

Last Name: Sencer Locality: Charlottesville

Hello I am giving testimony in support of HB 1817 Certified Nurse Midwife Practice My name is Claudia Sencer, I am a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and have been in practice in Charlottesville for the last 31 years. I attended births for the first 16 years and have provided gynecology care only, subsequently. As with all members of the healthcare community, CNMs safety record is based on how we practice. It is in our training, in our culture—in our Standards of Practice: we work in a healthcare team. We all have our skill set. No one provider type has global knowledge. The system works only when we work together. Midwives, OB/GYNs, Maternal Fetal specialists, Family Practitioners, Neonatologists, Nurses, Genetics Counselors, Lactation Consultants-we work together and all consult with each other as we need to. There are 2 CNM owned practices in Central Virginia. My practice, and one small homebirth practice. Both of our consultant MDs are well into their 70’s. When they are no longer available, it is unclear if there will be anyone to replace them. That means my thousands of patients, some of whom I have cared for over decades, will be forced to find other care providers should I be unable to practice. MDs have little motivation to have a formal consultative agreement with CNMs. They mistakenly fear liability risk. They don’t want to be bothered. They see competition not colleagues. They don’t understand what we do, and often do not respect it. I have been offered work in MD practices. However, I schedule one hour long appointments with each patient. This is a model of care which does not lend itself to typical medical “productivity” levels. But it is satisfying to me and my patients. Physician colleagues have been confused by how much time I spend on an annual exam or problem visit. It is a different model of care. Not better or worse. If I worked in an MD owned practice, this low level of productivity would not be tolerated. I have been fortunate to have found MDs willing to have consultative agreements with me, enabling me to have my own practice and work in the way I prefer. Many other CNMs have been less fortunate. I have known CNMs who left Virginia, who lost their practices for lack of MD support. Others whose only option is working for MDs with productivity levels inhibiting the time focused care that CNMs often prefer. We have a long track record of safety: since 1975 in Virginia since the early 1900’s in the US. Consultation agreements inhibit practices, they are not a safety issue, they are a restraint of trade issue. 28 states support independent CNM practice-it is a safe model of care. I implore you, please support HB 1817.

Last Name: Baird Locality: Lynchburg

As the Director of a hospital-owned midwifery practice, I have experienced first-hand the unintended consequences that practice agreement requirements have on our care of women. This year we were unable to order Rhogam, a life saving blood product which prevents isoimmunization in mom and fatal outcomes in babies. Once isoimmunized there is nothing that can be done to reverse the permanent negative consequences for mom and any future pregnancies. The company which provides this product quoted our Virginia law as their rationale for the requirement. Our patients suffered delays in care, with the potential for permanent consequences because of this unnecessary requirement. We were also unable to order saline to use on microscope slides for the same reason. There are no physicians in our practice, but because of this requirement we have been forced to contract with a private MD group. This physician group requires a financial incentive to provide this relationship, which is significant and not something a smaller group or individual midwife could afford. Without this financial incentive the physician practice would not maintain our practice agreement. At any point if they discontinue the relationship, ten midwives would be unemployed and over 500 women would need to seek prenatal care elsewhere. Our practice routinely consults, collaborates and transfers patients to our physician colleagues as appropriate. Our relationship with the community OB/GYNs is positive and based on a team approach to the care of the women in our area. This is the standard of care for midwives and the removal of the requirement for a practice agreement will not change our processes. We will continue to follow the standards set forth by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and provide evidence-based care to our patients. The requirement of a practice agreement is not about patient care, it is restraint of trade and unnecessary regulation of a profession that is already sufficiently regulated. Thank you,

Last Name: Kohl Organization: American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Locality: Alexandria

On behalf of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), I write in support of H.B. 1817 (Adams), legislation to amend and reenact §54.1-2957 and §54.1-2957.01 of the Code of Virginia, relating to practice of certified nurse midwives. If enacted, H.B. 1817 would increase access to evidence-based, high-value maternal health care and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes during a time in which the Commonwealth faces a shortage of high-quality maternal health providers and significant race-based disparities in maternal and infant outcomes. Midwifery care provided by CNMs and CMs is evidence‐based and can reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, rates of stillbirth, perineal trauma, instrumental births, intrapartum analgesia use, rates of severe blood loss, preterm birth, low birth weight, and neonatal hypothermia. Midwifery has been associated with more efficient use of resources and improved outcomes including increased rates of spontaneous labor, vaginal birth, and breastfeeding. Additionally, women who receive midwifery care have higher rates of satisfaction with care, pain relief in labor, and maternal–newborn interaction. When pregnant and birthing people are placed in an appropriate level of care with the appropriate provider, maternal mortality and morbidity rates decrease. Numerous studies show that better integration of CNMs/CMs practicing to the full extent of their education, clinical training and certification within a team-based care model with the patient at the center can help prevent maternal deaths, reduce racial disparities, improve maternal and neonatal outcomes and improve access to health care for individuals and families. Despite the role midwives could play in efforts to expand access to care, reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and improve overall health outcomes for women and their families, midwives and the midwifery-led care models remain regrettably underutilized in the United States health system. There are several reasons for this including, restrictive supervisory and collaborative practice requirements, like those currently in place in the Commonwealth, inequity in third-party reimbursement structures, restrictions on hospital credentialing and admitting privileges, and limited recognition of the Certified Midwife credential. There is wide support for reducing unnecessary scope of practice restrictions and barriers to accessing care provided by midwives and other advanced practice providers. The National Governors Association, the National Academy of Science and Medicine, the Federal Trade Commission, the Medicaid and CHIP Advisory Commission, the American Nurses Association, the National Rural Health Association, AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes and countless other provider and consumer groups and think tanks support or have recommended increased access to midwives and midwifery-led care models and/or that CNMs and CMs be able to practice to the top of their competency-based education, clinical training and national certification. ACNM strongly supports passage of H.B. 1817 and elimination of the statutory requirement that CNMs practicing in the Commonwealth enter into a written collaborative agreement with a physician as a condition of practice. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at akohl@acnm.org with any questions on the provision of care, treatment or services as provided by CNMs and CMs.

HB2039 - Physician assistant; eliminates certain requirement for practice.
Last Name: Heaton Organization: Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (VOMA) is a professional medical organization that represents over 2,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) providing patient care in Virginia. We are writing to express our strong concerns regarding HB 2039, which expands the practice authority for physician assistants (PAs) and puts patient safety at risk. If enacted, HB 2039 would greatly expand the practice authority for PAs by removing the requirement that PAs maintain a practice agreement with a physician or podiatrist, and instead allow PAs to practice pursuant to an agreement with a health care team that contains “guidelines for [PA] collaboration and consultation” with other clinicians. Physician input is only required in “complex clinical cases…patient emergencies, and for referrals,” and there is no requirement that physicians visit sites where PAs practice. Our organization is very concerned that authorizing what amounts to the independent practice of medicine by PAs, without requiring them to complete a similar level of education, supervised training and testing to physicians, could place the safety of Virginia’s patients at risk. Further, the Physician Assistant Education Association, which represents PA educational programs, has stated in its “Optimal Team Practice Task Force Report” that they “[do] not support the elimination of legal provisions that require a collaborating physician for PAs” due to potential negative consequences, including harm to patients. The VOMA supports the “team” approach to medical care because the physician-led medical model ensures that professionals with complete medical education and training are adequately involved in patient care. Physicians across the United States must meet the same education, training and testing requirements and practice in supervised environments that afford progressively greater autonomy before ultimately becoming eligible to treat patients on their own. These requirements ensure that all patients are treated safely and with the same standard of care regardless of their location or ability to pay. They also uniquely prepare physicians to understand and recognize the subtle differences between many minor ailments (i.e. the common cold, indigestion) and serious ones (i.e. pneumonia, heart attack) that share similar symptoms, and to engage in safe prescribing practices. While our organization supports the bill’s goal of increasing access to health care, we are concerned that granting PAs similar practice rights to primary care physicians, without requiring similar education, training and testing, could create a two-tier health care system wherein only certain patients are able to access fully trained and licensed physicians. Further, allowing another class of clinicians who receive less education and training than physicians to independently prescribe dangerous drugs could exacerbate the widespread prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion that our nation is currently facing. For these reasons, the VOMA urges you to prioritize patient safety and oppose HB 2039.

Last Name: Knotts Organization: Americans for Prosperity Virginia Locality: Henrico

It is essential to address the demand for healthcare in a practical way - and these proposals are safe, evidence based, and needed. HB1987: Reimbursement for remote patient monitoring is proven to improve quality of care, lower readmissions, and lower travel and treatment costs. Remote patient monitoring is an essential benefit that allows patients to leave the hospital and get the same quality of care at home. For high risk pregnancies, it can cost as little as $26 a day to provide this service with higher convenience, better care, and keeps a hospital bed open for someone else who might need it more. Compare that to a $5,000 a day stay in the hospital with lower convenience, higher costs, and lower satisfaction. The Governor wisely removed reimbursement barriers to providers to offer this service to those suffering COVID-19 with great results. Virginians deserve access to this benefit and remote patient monitoring needs to be reimbursed immediately. HB1737: Nurse practitioners have safely served their communities with 2 years experience during the pandemic, and states across the country already allow for them to practice with the scope of practice with less restrictions that we have in Virginia. We need frontline healthcare workers practicing to their full capability and this reform achieves that safely. HB1747 / hb1817 : Enabling providers s to practice to their full capability is essential. Nurse practitioners deserve the opportunity be certified and practice according to their skills and education. This common-sense reform helps front line care providers to be more efficient and useful in serving in care deserts. In the same way, we should better leverage physician assistants in the field who could do more but are restricted by regulatory barriers. HB1769: Virginia law, unfortunately, puts walls between patients who are seeking care from licensed providers beyond our state lines. The commonwealth of Virginia does not care if a patient gets in the car and travels to another state to get treatment from an outstanding provider, but if a Virginia gets on the information highway, it can lead to criminal charges who is merely offering care to a Virginian in need of it. When the law was written, a phone was tethered to the kitchen wall. Today, our phones are supercomputers that can provide detailed healthcare information to a doctor in real-time. Our laws are still looking backwards in healthcare - not forward. Patient behavior is seeking better care with more convenience. This bill removes barriers between patients and providers across the country.

HB2079 - Pharmacists; initiation of treatment with and dispensing and administering of drugs and devices.
No Comments Available
HB2220 - Surgical technologist; certification, use of title.
No Comments Available
End of Comments