Patient with nurse.

New Law will Ease Licensure for New York’s Midwife-Led Birth Centers

February 17, 2022

New York’s Midwifery Birth Center Bill, signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 31, 2021, reduces red tape for midwife-led birthing centers while giving midwives a central role in deciding how these centers will be regulated.

The state has allowed midwife-led birthing centers since 2016, but due to onerous licensing requirements, none have opened. The new law abbreviates the certificate of need process, and sets a 180-day time-frame for writing new regulations. New York Midwives and The NYS Birth Center Association are working with Commissioner Mary Bassett, MD, and the New York State Department of Health to develop the new rules.

“Passage of the Midwifery Birth Center Bill is an important step in scaling up midwifery and promoting access to safe midwifery-led care in New York State,” says Rebekah L. Ruppe, DNP ’09, program director of Columbia Nursing’s Graduate Midwifery Program and an assistant professor of nursing at CUIMC.

“Perinatal and birth outcome measures are improved when midwives are integrated into regional healthcare systems. Successful integration of midwifery-led birth centers—importantly, as Article 28 facilities—will allow pregnant and birthing people to seek care in an environment that aligns with their values and health needs and ensure seamless transition of care if those health needs change.”

Adds Casey Selzer, MS ’07, an adjunct professor at Columbia Nursing: “We are hopeful that the passage of the Midwifery Birth Center Bill and continued collaboration between state legislators and midwifery stakeholders at the state level will make midwife-led birth centers a safe and accessible reality for birthing families in New York State in the near future. I look forward to my students at Columbia Nursing leading the way in this important work.”