Licensed Midwifery Law Aims to Boost Patient Safety, Enhance Outcomes

Barbara Martin at bill signing

OAK PARK, IL – Dec. 14, 2021 – West Suburban Medical Center will be among the key stakeholders represented at a ceremony for Gov. J.D. Pritzker to sign legislation to protect public health, safety, and welfare through stringent qualifications and practice criteria for professional midwives in Illinois. The morning ceremony will take place today at the James R. Thompson Center.

The Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act (HB341), which pertains to the practice of midwifery in out-of-hospital settings, sets standards for the qualifications, education, training, and experience of licensed certified professional midwives.

“Today is a proud day for midwives and an even prouder day for West Suburban Medical Center midwifery providers at PCC Wellness Center and West Suburban Midwife Associates,” said West Suburban Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Barbara Martin. “These highly skilled clinicians will finally join the ranks of other health care professionals who are fully licensed and recognized by the state.”

West Suburban is a leader in natural birthing and obstetrics, recognized in 2021 on Newsweek magazine’s list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. West Suburban also has been named one of the top three maternity units in Illinois by the Leapfrog Group that oversees hospital quality across the country.

The new law requires out-of-hospital licensed midwives to consult with hospital-based professionals to promote “a consultative and integrated maternity care delivery system in Illinois with agreed-upon consulting, transfer, and transport protocols in use by all health care professionals and licensed certified professional midwives across all health care settings to maximize client safety and positive outcomes, to support accredited education and training as a prerequisite to licensure, and to protect the public,” according to the bill.

West Suburban has served the Oak Park and Chicago communities since 1914. For generations, the medical center has advocated for midwifery among all the options it offers mothers.

Martin expressed gratitude to the legislators “for your unwavering support and dedication to all of the expectant mothers, hardworking midwives, partnering hospitals, and dedicated OB-GYN physicians in the state of Illinois.

“We look forward to welcoming more midwives into West Suburban as a result of the act. We are committed to continuing to provide competent care as more and more hospitals struggle to keep their maternity units open due to skyrocketing costs.”