Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Officials vote against proposals allowing more birth centers

March 25th, 2009 @ 1:29pm
By Mary Richards

HOLLADAY -- Hospitals say it's about safety; some parents say it's about choice. But in the end, state health officials Wednesday voted against some proposals that basically would have allowed more birth centers in Utah.

Almost 100 parents took their babies to the Health Facilities Committee hearing. Most of the babies were born at the Birth and Family Center in Holladay, the state's only public, freestanding birth center.

Owner and Certified Nurse Midwife Rebecca McInnis was disappointed the committee voted down two proposals that would have changed the relationship between birth centers and hospitals. She says right now, hospitals have a monopoly.

"If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of moms in Utah then we need to make this an option that doesn't have the veto power of their direct competitor," she said.

Representatives from hospitals testified against the proposed changes, citing safety and liability concerns.

Megan Stotts gave birth to her son at the Birth and Family Center and ended up being transferred to UMED. Right now they have a transfer agreement.

If they didn't have that agreement, and this ruling was passed saying they have to have that agreement, and they decided not to have that agreement, then I couldn't have had him at the Birth and Family Center, which I thought was an amazing experience."

She was glad to support birth centers. "I think it's sad that so many people have a closed mind on this issue," she said.

The committee said they would still study the issue, but McInnis says it could take them another year to get the issue heard by this committee again.


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