AN ACT ESTABLISHING LICENSING REQUIREMENTS FOR BIRTH CENTERS.
Enacts new Part 4A to Article 6 of GS Chapter 131E, titled the Birth Center Licensure Act (Act).
Sets out the purpose of the Act and defined terms. Prohibits the establishment or operation of a birth center in the state without first obtaining a license from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) pursuant to new Part 4A. Defines birth center as a facility licensed for the primary purpose of performing normal, uncomplicated deliveries that is not a birth center or attached to a birth center, and where births are planned to occur away from the mother's usual residence following a low-risk pregnancy, as that term is defined. Requires DHHS to provide applications for licensure and details the information required to be included in applications. Directs DHHS to issue a license if it finds the applicant is in compliance with the provisions of Part 4A and any rules adopted by the NC Medical Care Commission (Commission). Provides that the license is valid for one year and is required to designate the number and types of beds and the number of operating rooms on the licensed premises. Establishes a $100 nonrefundable annual license fee. Provides for license renewal by DHHS pursuant to rules adopted by the Commission. Establishes that a license is not transferable or assignable except with written approval of DHHS. Requires operators to post the license on the licensed premises in an area accessible to the public.
Authorizes the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license for substantial failure to comply with the provisions of Part 4A or rules adopted by the Commission. Provides three factors the DHHS Secretary must consider in determining whether to suspend admissions when the birth center's conditions are dangerous to the health or safety of the patients, including whether all other reasonable means of correcting the problem have been exhausted and no less restrictive alternative to suspension of admissions exists. Provides for a birth center to contest any adverse action on its license in accordance with GS Chapter 150B (APA).
Prohibits a licensed birth center from representing or providing services outside of the scope the license. Sets the following limitations on services at a licensed birth center: (1) surgical procedures must be limited to those normally accomplished during an uncomplicated birth, (2) no abortions can be performed, and (3) no general or conduction anesthesia can be performed.
Directs DHHS to inspect birth centers as it deems necessary and requires all licensed birth centers be subject to DHHS inspections at all times. Provides for access to licensed premises by authorized DHHS representatives. Makes it unlawful for any person to resist proper entry by authorized DHHS representatives upon premises other than a private dwelling. Prohibits those representatives from endangering the health or well-being of any patient being treated in the birth center by his or her entry onto the premises. Grants DHHS the authority to investigate birth centers in the same manner as it investigates hospitals under GS 131E-80(d). Permits public disclosure of information received by the Commission or DHHS through filed reports, license applications, or inspection required or authorized by new Part 4 except where disclosure would violate physician-patient confidentiality. Prohibits disclosure from identifying the patient involved without permission of the patient or court order.
Requires the Commission to adopt rules necessary to implement new Part 4, including the standards for licensure. Mandates that the licensing standards include: (1) a requirement that the birth center obtain and maintain accreditation with the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers or another nationally recognized organization that accredits birth centers, with requiring licensed birth centers to immediately notify DHHS upon loss of its accreditation and (2) a requirement that the birth center establish procedures specifying the criteria by which each woman's risk status will be evaluated at admission and during labor. Requires DHHS to enforce the provisions of new Part 4 and any rules adopted by the Commission.
Effective January 1, 2019.
© 2021 School of Government The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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