Updated: Jun 23
Midwives are demanding EQUAL ACCESS TO HOSPITAL DOORS and a SC statute to protect the profession. Since November, 2017, the Midwifery Advisory Council and other midwife organizations have been urging South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to repair dangerous errors in a hospital regulation. Over the past three years, midwives have worked diligently to resolve the issues of being denied Equal Access to Perinatal Levels of Care. In addition to streamlining and expediting care in the event of an emergency, adding the midwives to the Levels of Care would automatically give midwives and birth centers access to consultative, outreach, support services and professional continuing education.
DHEC continues to delay making changes to a regulation that does not give midwife patients equal access the levels of perinatal care and forbids level II hospitals from accepting ‘outborn’ babies. In short, DHEC updated hospital regulation 61-16 and listed every maternity care provider in South Carolina EXCEPT midwives and birth centers (including prison infirmaries). ALL other maternity providers get streamlined care when an emergency occurs, but hospitals are only required to give midwife patients minimal EMTALA emergency room access (Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act).
Additionally, the negligent regulation is in direct conflict with SC 2020 Appropriations Act Part 1B SECTION 34 - J040 - 34.46 which requires that ALL hospitals act in good faith to coordinate transfer agreements with EVERY midwife attended Birth Center within a 50 mile radius. Freedom of information requests made to DHEC, revealed that EVERY SC Licensed birth center was advised of their requirements regarding the Act each year since 2015, but that DHEC had never contacted any of the hospitals regarding the same compliance. Such delays in care could mean the difference between life and death, but DHEC continues to make excuses for failure to update their regulation. It has been three years since the Midwifery Advisory Council (MAC) first officially notified DHEC of their oversight.