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House Advances Midwives Bill But Debate Continues


The Kansas House has advanced a bill that would grant certified nurse midwives limited authority to practice independently.

Current law requires midwives to have collaborative agreements with doctors. The House bill would allow them to handle “normal, uncomplicated deliveries” without such agreements.

Representative Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, is the chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee. He says the compromise measure is an attempt to end a long-running turf battle between advanced practice nurses and doctors.

“I really wanted to see something happen," Hawkins says. "I wanted to see this logjam broken. We’ve been negotiating for a year and we just we’re getting anywhere.”

Under the bill, certified midwives who want to establish independent obstetric practices would need two licenses. One from the Board of Nursing and another from the Board of Healing Arts, which regulates the practice of medicine.

Kansas doctors are generally okay with the compromise. But midwives say it’s a “step backwards” and are vowing to continue their fight for full independent practice authority.