ASBM Board Meeting Minutes
March 12, 2021
Vestavia Hill City Hall
The Alabama State Board of Midwifery met on Friday, March 12, 2021, to conduct business. This meeting was held via zoom and in person. The physical location was Vestavia Hill City Hall. In attendance were: (1) Ms. Bufkin (Board Chair), (2) Ms. Leithart (member), (3) Mr. Megginson (member), (4) Ms. Litas(member), (5) Ms. Armstead (member), Ms. Carmack (Board attorney) and Dr. Porterfield Miller (Administrative Assistant). Ms Nero and Ms Dennis were not in attendance.
The members of the public in attendance were: Mr. Matt Hart (attorney) representing the Board of Medical Examiners (ALBME) and Laura Reeder, ALMA.
The Board meeting had been advertised on the Secretary of State’s website, in accordance with the Alabama Open Meetings Act. There being a quorum of board members present, Ms. Bufkin, Board Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m. and proceeded to preside over the meeting.
Ms. Bufkin presented the December 11, 2020 meeting minutes for the Board’s approval. Copies of the minutes were provided to the members prior to the meeting for their review. Ms. Leithart made a motion to adopt the December 11, 2020 minutes. The motion was seconded by Ms.Litas. A roll call vote was taken. All in favor: Bufkin, aye, Armstead, aye, Megginson, aye, Leithart, aye, Litas, aye. None opposed. The minutes were unanimously approved by the Board.
The Board chair (Ms. Bufkin) report reflected on getting ready for this year. Ms. Bufkin and the Administrative Assistant, Dr. Porterfield Miller attended the virtual meeting on New Policy on the Administration of State Government emails on February 18, 2021 at 10:00AM. Since that meeting the State had decided not to go forward with the new policy. Ms. Leithart suggested that the Board start using a more secure email server. Ms. Carmack also suggested that a more encrypted email for the Board would be more secure. Ms. Leithart made a motion to change the Board email to Protonmail for business. This motion was seconded by Litas. A roll call vote was taken: All in favor: Bufkin, aye, Armstead, aye, Leithart, aye, Megginson, aye and Litas, aye. None opposed. The motion passed unanimously. Ms. Leithart and the Administrative Assistant, (Dr. Sharon P. Miller), will get the Board set up with the new email address.
The Chair expressed concerns about the Board’s budget. Ms. Leithart gave a breakdown of the budget, pointing out that we either need to raise fees or recruit more midwives. Ms. Bufkin suggested that maybe the Board needed to lower the fees so that more Licensed Midwives would get licensed in the State. Ms. Bufkin, Ms. Leithart and Ms. Litas said the PLI was the major concern as to why midwives do not get licensed.
Mr. Megginson asked if it was acceptable to accept donations? Ms. Leithart said it was permissible to accept donations. Mr. Megginson wanted to know how many future midwives were in school before tackling the idea of raising the fees on Midwives. Ms. Reeder from ALMA reported that there were 9 students due to come out in 3-5 years and 2 students due to finish in the next 18 months.
The Board Attorney (Ms. Carmack) gave a follow up on the Capstone Email Retention policy. She stated that because of the number of people against it, the State would not be going forward with the new policy. Ms Carmack reported that the Board received two complaints for 2020. Both complaints were resolved without any conflict. Mr. Megginson expressed concerns about how complaints were handled within the Board. Ms. Carmack referred to the copies of redacted letters that were sent via email to Board members as how complaints were addressed at the beginning of a complaint and the end. Mr. Megginson wanted Alabama Licensed Midwives Association (ALMA) via Ms. Litas, to understand that all midwives should keep supporting documentation, all Midwives should be informed about the rules that protect them and for Midwives to educate their clients on the rules that protect them as clients. He asked that Ms. Litas take this information to ALMA. Ms. Litas said that she would. Ms. Carmack also asked if the Board had heard from the Attorney General’s office concerning the AG Opinion on the Newborn Screening Cards. Mr. Megginson said that he and Ms. Bufkin had not written a letter yet asking for the current status of the opinion. Ms. Carmack again recommended that the Board join the Alabama Association of Regulatory Boards (AARB).
The Administrative Assistant (Dr. Sharon Porterfield Miller) report consisted of a review of the administrative assistant report and the financial report, December 10, 2020 to March 12, 2021. Additional information was provided about House Bill 67, (the Board of Midwifery sunset review bill which was passed by the Alabama Senate on March 4, 2021 and sent to the Governor for signature. This bill extends the Board until October 1, 2025. House Bill 309, Appropriations bill was introduced in the House on March 9, 2021 allowing the Board of Midwifery a $25,000 budget. This bill is in committee and usually does not make its way through the House and Senate until later in the session. The Administrative Assistant attended the virtual meeting on New Policy on the Administration of State Government emails. Senate Confirmation for Laura Reeder and reappointment of Chris Megginson and Stephanie Armstead were rescheduled for Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
There was no old business.
Ms. Leithart suggested that the Board look at changing the Administrative Assistant’s
contract that begins December 16, 2020 and ends December 16, 2021. She reported that, after talking to the Comptroller’s office, it is easier for them to work with contracts that begin and end with the state’s fiscal year that starts on October 1 of each year. The Board will address this issue in June.
The Board’s Attorney asked if Medicaid has agreed to list Licensed Midwives as approved providers.
Ms. Leithart and Mr. Megginson stated that they had looked into it. Mr. Megginson reported that the last response on that issue was May 2020. He also reported that some Midwives were receiving help
through private insurance.
Ms. Bufkin reminded the Board that at the June meeting there will be 6 renewals for approval. Ms. Carmack and Ms. Bufkin reminded Board members that they will need to meet in person at that meeting in order to view all renewal documents.
The Board chair, Ms. Bufkin, asked for comments or concerns from the public. There were no comments or concerns from the public.
Ms. Bufkin, Board Chair, made a motion to adjourn the meeting and it was seconded by Mr. Megginson. Oral vote: all in favor, none opposed. Meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.
Respectfully submitted by,
Dr. Sharon Porterfield Miller