American College of Domiciliary Midwives
Palo Alto, Ca 94303

Medical Board of California
1426 Howe Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825-3236

Faith Gibson, CPM

February 3, 1995


Regularly scheduled coverage and broadcast of the quarterly meeting of the Medical Board of California by public cable television

Access to quality healthcare for the 31 million residents of California is dependent on the policy decisions made by Medical Board appointees during quarterly meetings. Unfortunately, the public is generally unaware of the importance of these meeting. Due to the constantly changing location and long travel times, they are difficult to attend and consequently, direct participation by citizens or consumer groups is rare. This unpublicized public forum is too important to the people of California for its business to be conducted in a media vacuum. Just as the C-Span coverage of the US Senate & House of Representatives maximizes participation in the nation policy debate, so the public broadcasting of sessions of the DOL & DMQ and the general meeting would permit full representation of those regulated and affected by Board decisions.

Our professional group, which is composed of midwives and home-birth physicians, believes that
the routine airing of the Board meetings would vastly improved our access to this decision-making process. Our professional duties as practitioners frequently require us to work all night or be on-call and unable to leave town. In a state that is 800 miles long, we need to be able to participate via cable broadcasting so that we and the childbearing families we serve will be represented in this political process. This is particularly important for the 84,184 licentiates under the 19 Allied Healthcare professions as the Medical Practice Act stipulates that no persons (except for medical doctors) who are licentiates may be appointed to serve on the governing Board. Without our direct participation, this is regulation without representation.

It is frustrating in this era of the information super highway that healthcare providers must spend so more time on the interstate than the InterNet, as we drive (or fly) back and forth to Sacramento, San Diego, LA and San Francisco every 3 month to attend the two-day Board meetings. In addition to the burden and expense of travel is the added cost of overnight lodging and the problems of timing. For instance, on two occasions within the last 12 months, certified nurse-midwives and physicians have traveled hundreds of miles at our request to address the Board, only to discover that the agenda item had been moved up and dispensed with before our arrival. We are convinced that broadcasting these important meetings would do much to remedy the many difficulties of access by healthcare providers regulated by the Board and would be a profound public service to the residents of California.

We request a response this proposal at your earliest convenience.

Faith Gibson, Community Midwife
Certified Professional Midwife#96050001
North American Registry of Midwives

cc: Senator Lucy Killea
Senator William Lockyear
Kate Bowland, A.C.N.M.
Tonya Brooks, C.A.P.M.
Maggie Bennett, C.A.M.
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