State Senator Gustavo Rivera issued the following statement after Governor Kathy Hochul signed his Birthing Center Accreditation bill into law (S1414A/A259A Gottfried) last Friday:
"New York's maternal mortality crisis is one of our State’s most urgent public health emergencies. I want to thank Governor Hochul for recognizing this issue as such and signing this important bill into law. For decades, birthing centers have fully functioned in various states as spaces where expectant mothers can safely give birth outside the hospital setting basically eliminating unnecessary medical interventions. Unfortunately, in New York, that has not been the case. These centers have faced an unnecessary logjam in their approval process.
This new law will clear the way to approval. It will:
- Establish an expedited review process for Midwifery Birth Centers (MBCs) by requiring the New York State Department of Health to schedule the review of all Midwifery Birth Center applications at the next Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) meeting scheduled.
- Establish criteria for Midwifery Birth Center applications to be reviewed by PHHPC.
- Require the Commissioner of Health (COH) to work in consultation with representatives of the midwifery community in developing regulations and requirements for the establishment and operation of MBCs.
- Require the COH to modify standards to harmonize any competing or contradictory standards for MBCs to maximize their intent.
"I am fully aware that the work is far from over. However, by streamlining the process by which these birthing centers are established and operate, we are taking one significant step towards reversing our State’s maternal mortality crisis. Further, this law will empower midwives as professionals as they will be able to provide safe and effective maternal care at the spaces that were designed for them to lead.
We all remember the story of Amber Isaac who tragically died in childbirth leaving behind a grieving husband and a newborn. We cannot allow more women, particularly women of color who are already facing significant health disparities and sheer medical racism, to continue meeting Amber's faith.
I want to thank all the advocates for bringing this issue to the forefront and working tirelessly to make this happen. I am sure that these midwifery centers will make a difference for many women who deserve to give birth safely and with dignity."
Yes this is an important issue, but where is the State Senate Health Committee Chair on the issue of COVID, an the latest variant called Omicron? Governor Hochul say in her Executive Order 11.1 that the current Omicron variant of COVID i not being stopped by the vaccines being used. Where Is the State Senate Health Committee Chair State Senator Gustavo Rivera on the issue, and what are you doing Senator Rivera?