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Colorado to Extend Prescriptive Authority to Certified Midwives

By Sheryl Bridges and Cathleen McCaffrey

Sheryl Bridges HeadshotSigned into law on May 25, 2023, Colorado Senate Bill 23-167 expands the scope of healthcare provider licensure and prescriptive authority in Colorado to include certified midwives. Certified midwives are not to be confused with certified nurse midwives or direct-entry midwives. Certified nurse midwives and direct-entry midwives are already regulated in Colorado by the Colorado State Board of Nursing (BON) and the Colorado Office of Direct-Entry Midwifery, respectively. Their license and prescriptive authority requirements (certified nurse midwives) and registration requirements (direct-entry midwives) are not changed by the new law.  

The new law is codified in the Nurses and Nurse Aides Practice Act. It contemplates licensure of the certified midwife after an application process and certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Per the new law, the certified midwife is an independent practitioner who must have professional liability insurance. In addition, the certified midwife may apply for prescriptive authority after licensure and completion of various requirements such as three years of clinical work experience as a certified midwife. The BON is currently in the process of creating rules to implement the provisions of the new law. Although the rules have not yet been finalized, the proposed language is informative. Proposed Rule 1.29, for example, discusses the process and requirements for applying for and obtaining provisional and full prescriptive authority. As proposed, the prescriptive authority application process is similar to the current prescriptive authority application process for advanced practice registered nurses, including a requirement for 750 mentorship hours before full prescriptive authority may be granted. Proposed Rule 1.28 addresses the requirements for how a certified midwife may obtain and maintain licensure in Colorado. Proposed Rule 1.28 indicates the certified midwife’s standard of practice is “set by the American College of Nurse-Midwives” and confirms that certified midwifery is not the practice of nursing. 

A final rulemaking hearing is scheduled for January 24, 2024. The draft rules and information about the rulemaking hearing can be found on the BON’s web site under the Public Notices tab.  

Our healthcare attorneys at Caplan and Earnest are closely following the implementation of this new law and the accompanying rules. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance as you navigate this significant change.  

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