With the costs of childbirth rising in the United States, the Florida House is offering expectant mothers with low-risk pregnancies an alternative to expensive hospital admissions.
On Wednesday, the Florida House passed HB 25, by Rep. Cyndi Stevenson which would open the door for advanced birthing centers (ABCs) — free-standing, non-hospital facilities that supply a variety of obstetrics, labor and delivery services for low-risk traditional births, and related procedures.
Unfortunately, the Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, the Senate Health Policy Chair, passed one committee unanimously, however, appears stalled in the Senate.
By using the latest techniques from highly specialized staff, ABCs could offer pregnant women and their families a relaxed, comfortable setting, ideal for childbirth. Such facilities would practice exclusively in obstetrics and delivery — handling carefully screened maternity patients who have already received proper prenatal care.
An ABC would perform no other major surgeries and would care for patients with both private and government insurance, including Medicaid.
The goal of an ABC is to supply professional services beyond those offered in traditional hospital births, serving as an alternative to exceedingly expensive hospital stays for low-risk expectant mothers. On behalf of all parties who worked so hard to pass this patient-centered legislation, we want to send a heartfelt thank you.
We look forward to working with the Legislature to make this common-sense health care reform a reality.
Drs. Robert Yelverton, M.D. and Stephen Snow, M.D. are Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians.