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Paulin's Legislation to Increase Education on Birthing Procedures Passes Assembly

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin announced today that her bill to create an education and outreach program for consumers and providers on the benefits and risks of birthing procedures passed the Assembly (A.7674b). Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, will be introducing the same legislation in the State Senate shortly.

The outreach program, which will be conducted by the Department of Health, is designed to improve birth outcomes by educating the public on the importance of health care and the health risks before pregnancy and during pregnancy and delivery. The benefits and risks of labor and delivery options, including vaginal and cesarean section delivery, and appropriate use of drugs during delivery will also be covered.

“It is our obligation to educate expectant mothers and the public in a comprehensive and meaningful way about the risks and benefits of delivery options and procedures,” said Assemblywoman Paulin. “I am particularly concerned that women do not have sufficient information to make an informed decision on how or even where to give birth,” Paulin continued. The Assemblywoman noted that since 1970 the percentage of cesarean births has more than quadrupled in the United States, with the rate in New York State in 2005 at 31.7%. “This is a significant portion of our population, and exceeds the rate of 15% recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. We must provide women with the information and education they need about c-sections as well as all other details relating to childbirth,” Paulin said.

“Leaders throughout the health care system recognize the importance of making performance transparent so that consumers can make wise choices and facilities and caregivers can improve their performance,” stated Childbirth Connection Executive Director Maureen Corry. “This legislation will increase transparency for the large and vulnerable population of childbearing women and newborns,” said Corry.

Paulin noted that although hospitals are required by law to prepare a leaflet containing labor and delivery statistics and options, hospitals have not complied with the law. Based on a survey conducted in 2005 by the Public Advocate of New York City, only one out of the 44 hospitals in New York City provided the data, and the material provided by the one hospital was dated 1998.

Other measures Paulin is working on include A.8125 which would offer a premium reduction for physicians and licensed midwives who complete a course in risk management strategies in obstetrics. She is also drafting legislation to create a maternity data system where all necessary information about maternity health would be easily accessible on one website maintained by the Department of Health.

“Making sure women and health providers have the information they need to make informed decisions on childbirth is essential,” concluded Paulin.


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