State could certify new birthing centers to keep mothers safe, relieve stress on hospitals

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office
Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, is heading a task force that will make recommendations on opening new birthing centers across New York to protect the mother and newborns, and to relieve stress on hospitals.

A new task force is developing a plan for New York state to authorize and certify additional birth centers to provide mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospitals.

The task force is being led by Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, and the state Council on Women and Girls and includes 13 additional members who represent obstetrical providers, pediatric care providers and family planning agencies in conjunction with the state Department of Health.

They will present recommendations on how to authorize and certify additional dedicated birthing centers to offer mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospitals amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The task force members are:

  • Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts
  • Christa Christakis, MPP – Executive Director, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists District II
  • Sascha James-Conterelli, DNP, RN, CNM, FACNM – President, NYS Association of Licensed Midwives
  • Loretta Willis, Vice President Quality & Research, Healthcare Association of NYS
  • Lorraine Ryan, Sr. VP Legal Regulatory & Professional Affairs Greater NY Hospital Association
  • Rose Duhan, President & CEO, Community Health Care Association of NYS
  • Ngozi Moses, Executive Director Brooklyn Perinatal Network
  • Nan Strauss – Every Mother Counts
  • Dr. Deborah E. Campbell, MD – Montefiore Medical Center
  • Natasha Nurse-Clarke, PhD, RN – Regional Perinatal Center Coordinator, Maimonides
  • Dr. Dena Goffman, MD – NYP/Columbia
  • Rev. Diann Holt – Founder/Executive Director Durham’s Baby Café
  • Cynthia Jones, MD, MPH – Mosaic Health Center

The task force will maintain an ad-hoc status throughout the COVID-19 state of emergency to address any additional issues related to COVID-19 during pregnancy through the postpartum period.

“This pandemic strained our hospital system in a way no one could have ever imagined, and while New York leads in ensuring laboring mothers were able to have a healthy partner, friend or family member with them during childbirth we can and should explore additional ways to make the experience less stressful,” DeRosa said. “Birth centers can serve as a safe alternative for low-risk pregnancies — relieving the strain on hospitals and providing a supportive environment for mothers during an already stressful time.”