Note from the Foundation: What follows is an open letter from Sharon Hamilton, the intrepid leader of the Legislative Committee. We have posted it here for all to read and see with permission. Sharon was on the frontlines of the legislative efforts when Chapter 467 was drafted and signed into law. The Foundation appreciates all the hard work of Sharon on behalf of all LMs.
October 27, 2017
Sharon Hamilton, L.M.
Legislative Chairperson, Previous Past President MAF 1986-1992 and 1996-2000
Dear Florida Licensed Midwife,
Thank you for your commitment to the mothers, babies and families of Florida. Thank you also for your commitment to the survival of Midwifery in Florida. Our work provides us and the families we serve a great blessing. I am asking you now to help us to continue the work that you and your community value so greatly.
You are probably aware of the ACOG bill that was introduced last Legislative Session to change F.S. 467, the Midwifery Practice Act. That bill did not pass due to our efforts. We were able to hire two excellent lobbyists and mobilize a cadre of midwives who visited legislators throughout the state and in Tallahassee. Even though we were able to prevent the bill from passing the issue has not gone away. ACOG's SB510, to require out-of-hospital practitioners to report Sentinel Events is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Health Policy Committee on November 7, 2017.
The Legislative Committee has developed a Strategic Plan 2018, which means contacting legislators to let them know about out-of-hospital birth, its' advantages and Licensed Midwives. Please meet with your regional midwives and organize visits to your local legislators to educate them about the benefits of midwifery. We must prevent the opening of F.S. 467, because of concerns of negative meddling by the ACOG. The current bill will change F.S. 456, which is an umbrella healthcare act. We are working hard to keep the language fair and equitable. Currently in Florida, doctors must report Sentinel Events that occur in their offices. The language in the bill being introduced is similar to the language in current Florida Statute that governs doctors' practices, F.S. 458.351.
Last year, MAF reimbursed our lobbyists $30,000 for the work they did. We have contracted with them for the same amount this year. So far, we have paid $10,000. It was a huge struggle to come up with that money. We need $20,000 more. We determined that if each midwife could donate $155, that we would have the $30,000 that we need for this session. PLEASE HELP US PRESERVE YOUR LICENSE TO PRACTICE MIDWIFERY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS.
Licensed Midwifery is a fragile profession. Our opponents have unlimited influence and money. We need your help to defend your profession. Please make a donation today of $155.00. If you can donate more, please do. If you cannot afford $155 today, please make 3 payments over the course of the next 3 months. If you have already donated, thank you.
You can send a check to: Midwives Association of Florida, 1801 Polk St. #223835, Hollywood, Fl. 33022, or go online to: MAFloridaTreasurer@gmail.com or www.FlMidwifeFoundation.org.
Sharon Hamilton, L.M.