Updated: Thursday, 02 Feb 2012, 6:40 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 02 Feb 2012, 6:15 PM EST
BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that enhances the job of nurse-midwives.
The governor has signed legislation that authorizes nurse-midwives to write drug prescriptions and order tests or therapeutics.
The bill eliminates the requirement of nurse-midwives to practice as part of a team that includes a licensed physician. Instead, they will be required to practice within the health care system and have clinical relationships with obstetrician-gynecologists that provide consultation and referral.
Supporters of the bill say it will reduce healthcare costs by offering an alternative and broadening health care.
Gov. Patrick told 22News, "It's about more choice for mothers preparing to give birth and it's about helping to control health care costs."
"What it does is it releases the physicians of liability of working with us,” according to Kathryn Kravetz Carr, the President of the American College of Nurse Midwives. “It allows us to practice in the way that we were trained and educated and certified."
Home deliveries make up for only less than 1 percent of births in Massachusetts every year, but the numbers are growing for women who wish to avoid intrusive or restrictive hospital settings.