Friday, January 07, 2011

Do Home Schoolers Deserve a Tax Break?

Do Home Schoolers Deserve a Tax Break? Should they even want one? The New York Times explores this debate with seven different opinion pieces.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Healthcare Providers and Social Media

The American Medical Association has issued a new policy on the use of social media (AMA Issues New Policy To Guide Physicians’ Use of Social Media on the Health Care Law Blog). The new policy "aims at helping physicians to maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship."

Do you think that the AMA guidelines would be helpful for other types of healthcare providers, such as midwives, doulas, chiropractors, and so on? Although these types of providers often have a much closer, personal relationship with their clients than do medical doctors, it is always a good idea to protect client's privacy (whether or not the provider is a HIPAA-covered entity) and to separate personal and professional online content.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Midwifery Legal/Legislative Updates

I do mean to post these more often...

In Florida, an appeals court confirmed the conviction of Tanya and Linda McGlade for practicing midwifery without a license. The two were charged after the 2004 childbirth death of a family member. Both women have been sentenced to a year in prison, but had been released pending appeal ("Two women lose appeals in midwifery convictions").

North Carolina's effort to pass licensing legislation is reportedly dead ("Midwife Supporters Will Push Again Next Session").

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Pumping at Work

The Washington Business Journal reports on the workplace-pumping provisions of the new health care package, focusing on the business aspects. Check out these facts about why businesses should support lactating women in the workplace:
In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services outlined the bottom-line business benefits of accommodating breast-feeding mothers. They include:

○ Breast-feeding employees miss work less often. Mothers of formula-fed infants take more than twice as many days off to care for sick children. Maternal milk boosts an infant’s immune system and helps protect the baby from common childhood illnesses and infections — a particularly high risk for children in day care. Health insurer Cigna Corp. conducted a two-year study of 343 employees who participated in their lactation support program. Among other things, the program saved $600,000 by reducing absenteeism rates.

○ Breast-feeding lowers health care costs. Cigna’s program resulted in annual savings of $240,000 in health care expenses and 62 percent fewer prescriptions. The reduced health care costs for breast-fed infants translate into lower medical insurance claims for businesses. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. had a similar program and found that health care costs for its working mother employees who did not breast-feed were $2,146 higher per person.

○ Workplace lactation support programs can improve employee retention rates. One study of several companies with lactation support programs showed that 94.2 percent of working mothers returned to their employers after maternity leave when lactation support programs were in place. That compares to the national average retention rate of just 59 percent. Another study estimates that companies save $75,000 for each employee who returns to the workplace after childbirth.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vegetable purees can not be copyrighted

Says a New York federal appeals court (AP via Jessica Seinfeld was sued for trademark and copyright violations after her book, Deceptively Delicious (reviewed here) was published about the same time as Missy Chase Lapine's The Sneaky Chef. Both cookbooks involve sneaking vegetable purees into kid's foods. Lapine also sued Jessica's husband, commedian Jerry Seinfeld, for defamation based on comments he made on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Legal warning over umbilical cord blood collection

Interesting article about cord blood collection in the UK - Legal warning over umbilical cord blood collection. The article implies that is illegal to collect cord blood without a license; however, a lack of uniformity among hospital policies, with some hospitals not allowing collection, leads some parents to take matters into their own hands:
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) has written to more than 150 organisations following concerns that parents, including new fathers, are collecting the blood themselves using kits delivered to their homes.

Some midwives have said they are being put under pressure to collect the blood illegally and there are fears this could be compromising patient care.
The Royal College of Midwives supports the HTA's actions, saying, "[t]he time during the birth when cord blood is collected is one of the riskiest times, in terms of safety. Therefore, it is essential that midwives are able to concentrate on the birth and are not put under pressure to carry out unregulated and unlawful cord blood collections."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pregnant and Shackled

RH Reality Check's Aimee Newman examines Washington state's proposed legislation which would ban on the shackling of pregnant incarcerated women or youth in almost all circumstances. Newman points out that the majority of women in prison are first-time, non-violent offenders. And a startling 5% of incarcerated women in the US are pregnant.

New America Media reports on the shackling of pregnant undocumented immigrants in Arizona; and check out Boulder Weekly's Pregnant in Prison.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Lawyer Moms

I've added a few more blog links to my side bar. A Lawyer Mom's Musings has been caustically blogging since 2008. The Unnecesarian, one of my favorite daily reads, has recently gone to a group-blog format, introducing Mysteria a/k/a ANaturalAdvocate, who is a recent law school graduate and future bar-taker. And Sara has been blogging lightly, yet insightfully, for about a year at D is for Doula. The last two join the small sorority of what I term "birthy lawyers".

ETA: You may notice that I've added a list of Delicious Bookmarks. These are not bookmarks that taste good; it's merely interesting article that I've come across that I want to share, but don't necessarily want to blog about.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pit Police

What will it take for me to break my 10-month-long blogging silence (more on that later)? This situation out of Australia (HT The Unnecesarian). Although the health service has since apologized, it is things like this make me truly afraid for the direction our civilization is heading.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Grand Rounds

Paul Levy is hosting this week's Grand Rounds at his blog Running a Hospital ('cause that's what he does). The topic is "when things go awry".

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is VBAC illegal? Is homebirth illegal?

The VBAC Facts blog has a great explanation of the legalities of VBACs and homebirth. To summarize, VBAC is legal everywhere in the US. Homebirth (whether VBAC or not) is legal everywhere in the US. The only legal restrictions are placed on providers, what they may do and where they may do it.

You may also be interested in my previous blog post, Is it legal for Florida midwives to do VBACs?

Oh, and if you haven't read it yet, don't miss Time magazine's article The Trouble With Repeat Cesarians in conjunction with ICAN's recently-released report on the organization's hospital survey. I especially liked this quote from the Time article:
But while many obstetricians say fewer patients are requesting VBACs, others counter that the medical profession has been too discouraging of them. Dr. Stuart Fischbein, an ob-gyn whose Camarillo, Calif., hospital won't allow the procedure, is concerned that women are getting "skewed" information about the risks of a VBAC "that leads them down the path that the doctor or hospital wants them to follow, as opposed to medical information that helps them make the best decision." According to a nationwide survey by Childbirth Connection, a 91-year-old maternal-care advocacy group based in New York City, 57% of C-section veterans who gave birth in 2005 were interested in a VBAC but were denied the option of having one.
Hm. Why give patients information about a "procedure" that is not offered by you or allowed by your hospital?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Midwifery Care in Canada

Mazely writes about A Midwife Crisis: Maternity Care in Canada:
The practice of midwifery in Canada is regulated by provincial and territorial authorities. Midwives can only legally practice their profession if they are registered with these authorities, but only seven provinces and territories have regulatory systems in place. This means that midwifery is essentially illegal in the rest of Canada. Further compounding the problem is the fact that even where midwifery is legal, it isn’t always funded or covered by health care. A two-tier system of care has been established, where the standard of maternal care changes depending on your geographic location. Midwives are only available to some women, in some parts of the country, and only some of those women can afford their services.
In addition to giving a brief history of midwifery in Canada, Mazley links to the Canadian Midwifery Regulators Consortium's chart of the legal status of midwives in Canadian territories and provinces.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Traveling mothers still "face hurdles"

Traveling mothers still face hurdles in pumping breastmilk, reports the New York Times' business section, despite updated TSA rules regarding the carrying of expressed milk on airplanes. There is encouraging news, though:

Ernst & Young, the New York City financial services company, provides free travel kits so that women on business trips can ship milk home to their babies. And the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm based in Boston, helps women bring their babies on business trips by covering travel expenses for the infant and a baby sitter.

Ms. [Suzanne] Riss [editor-in-chief of Working Mother magazine] called such programs “very cutting edge” and noted that they “go a long way” toward creating loyal employees. “But they’re still the exception, not the rule,” she added.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Top 'Lawyer Mom' Blogs

I recently discovered that in December Darling Hill (a blog which I had never heard of but plan to keep an eye on!) named The Mommy Blawg one of the Top 'Lawyer Mom' Blogs of 2008.

Check out the other blogs on the list - there are some good ones. And you can find a wealth of information at Darling Hill, which is "the blog that’s devoted to that place where life and flexible lawyering meet. A 100% lawyer-parent friendly legal niche."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

FDA raids Miami birth center; Placentas, medical records confiscated

On Christmas Eve, federal, state, and local authorities executed a search warrant on the Miami Maternity Center following a 10-month joint investigation by the Florida Department of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration, and Miami Dade Police Department’s Medical Crimes Unit. Birth center staff were allegedly dehydrating and encapsulating placentas in a process that resulted in placentas from various birth mothers becoming commingled. Midwife Shari Daniels denies the allegations, according to news reports:
"They charged in here as if I were making crack cocaine," Daniels complained. "They could have sent one person and we should have shown them everything." She suggested that the raid might have been caused by angry obstetricians, who charge several times what she does to deliver a baby. "The local docs are screaming their heads off.''
Jodi Selander, owner of Placenta Benefits, a placenta encapsulation service, writes on her blog:

I am (obviously) a huge proponent of placenta encapsulation. However, I can not in any way condone this type of activity. I created the Training & Certification program specifically to avoid these types of situations.

As an advocate for the movement toward legitimizing the use of placenta for its natural purpose, this story is absolutely outrageous. People who operate with such a total lack of regard for the gravity of the process and who apparently do not realize that the FDA is not on our side, set the movement back and make it harder for the rest of us who are being safe and working toward legitimacy.

Please, people - don’t think that you can find free instructions for drying placentas on the internet and just set up shop. This is serious. You need to comply with government standards and regulations. Get some training. Work with us. Together we can do it. But not when people like this are operating out there.

White Collar Crime News blogger Jef Henninger has a lawyer's take on the situation:
I hate to see good people get caught up in criminal cases when the entire problem could have been easily avoided if a good attorney got in there and essentially performed an audit on the entire business....I don’t know enough about the facts of this case to really figure out what the situation is here, but I see no indication that anyone was harmed. At the most, it seems like they had sloppy business practices while they performed a service that the people wanted; but the FDA does not agree with. This seems like it would be a good case for a lawyer to argue that this is a technical violation of civil law and not a criminal violation as no one was actually harmed.
And, as I have mentioned before, I would love to have an expert's opinion about the HIPAA implications of confiscation of medical records. What happens to a person's right to his or her own medical records when those records become evidence? I assume that HIPAA exempts healthcare providers from liability when complying with a legitimate court order or other legal process, but do the police, prosecutors, and court personnel have the same duty as healthcare providers do to keep protected health information confidential? What if the health of a woman and her baby are compromised because her prenatal records are unavailable? Is there liability? Is anyone but me asking these questions?

Update 1/08/2008: For more information and continuing updates, please visit The Placenta Blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Midwife Sued

Midwife in the Clouds discusses being sued here and here - for allegedly misrepresenting the fact that she was an "in-network" provider:
Obstetrics in America is filled with stories of birth workers who can no longer have loving relationships with their patients because they are scared to death of lawsuits. The only people who suffer from these lawsuits are the mothers and babies because it becomes harder and harder to get the care you want when your caregiver is scared or limited by malpractice insurance.

Thankfully, this case was not about my ability as a midwife or my care of the mother and baby but a question of contracts, insurance, and money. I am so grateful to have learned what I did without anyone being seriously hurt - my heart goes out to midwives who are charged with an unwarrented medical lawsuit.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

ABA Journal Blawg 100

The American Bar Association Journal has published a list of this year's 100 best legal blogs. I didn't make the list. Neither did Blawg Review, though, so I'm in good company.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Poland debates paying for childbirth pain meds

From Anna Wilkowska-Landowska ("Poland Says No to Pain-Free Childbirth"), the Polish health system no longer plans to pay for childbirth drugs. The Ministry of Health Director suggested (in an article in a Polish newspaper) that not only can the state budget not afford to ensure free anesthetization during childbirth to all Polish women, but that there are not enough anesthesiologists in Poland. Says Wilkowska-Landowska:
In Western European countries, as well as in Poland's neighboring countries, childbirth anesthetization is considered a standard service provided to women. The question becomes, then, why do Polish women have to pay for it? This situation divides the Polish women into two groups: those who can afford to pay for anesthetization and those who cannot afford to pay for something to which they are entitled.
The article also mentions that since the Polish government is encouraging families to have more children, the Minister's statements only make the decision to have a baby more difficult for women.

Well, I guess it's another strike against socialized medicine.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NaBloPoMo - almost there!

Well, twenty-nine straight days of blogging, and I've run out of steam. Tomorrow we'll celebrate (it's also my birthday), but for now I'm going to get some sleep.