On January 3, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4598 (“HB 4598”) into law. HB 4598 adds Part 171 (Midwifery) to the Public Health Code and provides new licensure requirements for the practice of midwifery in Michigan.

Effective immediately, the bill establishes midwife licensure and scope of practice requirements, including:

  • Prohibiting an individual from practicing midwifery without a license;
  • Requiring educational, credentialing and examination criteria for licensure as well as continuing education for license renewal;
  • Requiring a midwife to obtain informed consent from a patient;
  • Requiring a midwife to establish a protocol for the transfer of care to a physician or hospital;
  • Prohibiting a midwife from using certain surgical instruments, prescribing medications or performing surgical procedures other than episiotomies or repairs to perineal lacerations; and
  • Requiring the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in consultation with the Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery (created under HB 4598) to promulgate rules to establish and implement the midwifery licensure program, establish continuing education requirements, delineate a midwife’s scope of practice and create the process for obtaining informed consent from a patient within 24 months. Furthermore, effective 90 days after HB 4598 is enacted, an amendment to Part 161 of the Public Health Code establishes application processing and license fees for midwives.

Practical Takeaways

  • Providers that operate midwifery practices or employ midwives, such as birthing centers and hospitals, should: (i) review HB 4598 against their current midwifery practices and implement any needed changes to their midwifery scope of practice to align with the new requirements and prohibitions that are effective immediately; and (ii) take steps to obtain licenses for existing midwives once the application process has been established.
  • Providers should anticipate new rules promulgated by the newly created Board of Licensed Midwifery within 24 months of the effective date of HB 4598.