Important Policy Announcement from the N.C. OB-GYN Society

March 13, 2017

Dear North Carolina Ob/Gyn Colleague:

As you may know, I am the current President of the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. I am writing with important news about a recent change in the Society’s policy concerning physician supervision of Certified Nurse Midwives.

Recently, the Society updated its position to support the licensure of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) as independent healthcare professionals working in collaboration with their physician partners.

As I am sure you know, under current law, Certified Nurse Midwives must be supervised by a physician as a condition of their midwifery license. For some time now, our Certified Nurse Midwife colleagues have sought to eliminate this physician supervision requirement – a change that the NC Ob/Gyn Society has opposed.

The Society’s decision to change its position on this issue came after more than a year of review by a diverse committee of Ob/Gyns from across North Carolina. The committee reviewed current law, other states’ rules, as well as the policies of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. After the committee recommended a change in our policy, the NC Ob/Gyn Society’s Executive Committee unanimously accepted the committee’s recommendation.

The Society’s new policy endorses a licensure process that acknowledges Certified Nurse Midwives as independent health care professionals. The new policy recommends that a Certified Nurse Midwife be required to submit a “physician collaboration agreement” when he or she applies for a license to practice in North Carolina. The policy also includes a recommendation that most of the details of the collaboration agreement be developed by the Midwifery Joint Committee of the North Carolina Board of Nursing, which is made up of a majority of members who are nurses along with several Ob/Gyn doctors.

The NC Ob/Gyn Society's Executive Committee supported this change for several reasons. First, the Society’s decision is intended to more closely align its position on CNM licensure with the close and effective collaboration now occurring between many CNMs and their North Carolina Ob/Gyn colleagues.
Second, we want to bring the Society’s position on collaboration into closer alignment with the policy of our national partner, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which supports complete independent licensure for CNMs.

And finally, we hope that acknowledging the training and skill of our CNM colleagues in the licensing process will allow us to focus together on important shared goals, including improving healthcare for women and reducing infant and maternal mortality.

While the new policy will not have an immediate impact on healthcare delivery or licensure, it will guide the Society’s discussions with policymakers, particularly in the North Carolina General Assembly, where the licensure of CNMs and other providers is currently being debated.

Finally, the Society welcomes your thoughts about this new policy. You can reach us at ncobgyn@ncmedsoc.org or (919) 833-3836. In addition, we have scheduled a conference call for NC Ob/Gyns to discuss the new policy on Monday, March 13 from 6 pm to 7 pm. The call-in information is provided below. You can also view a short video about the new policy at https://youtu.be/ez0EvRC8UbU. We will also have updates and discussions about this new policy at our April Society meeting.

Thank you for reviewing this letter and for the opportunity to serve as your NC Ob/Gyn Society President.

Sincerely,
Cecilia F. Grasinger, MD
President, North Carolina Obstetrical & Gynecological Society

Attachments:
NCOGS Policy Concerning Licensure of Certified Nurse Midwives and Physician Collaboration
FAQs on NCOGS Certified Nurse Midwife Policy
NC OB/Gyn Society Conference Call Monday, March 13, at 6 pm:
Dial: (877) 273-4202
Password: 8893102#

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