Midwives Sue Arizona Health Department
Midwives across the state are saying some rules enforced by the Arizona Department of Public Health Services are unnecessary, and even violate their patients’ rights.
The Arizona Association of Midwives filed a lawsuit Thursday, the same day they staged a protest outside the health department's offices.
The suit cites several issues, including forced medical testing of pregnant women. Wendi Cleckner, a licensed midwife and president of the association, claims the health department has been targeting some midwives by searching through many of their patients’ files.
"They feel like they have the authority just to bully midwives into handing over any record that they want, and going fishing for anything they want to get a midwife on," she said.
Cleckner said it’s illegal for the department to pull patients’ health records, unless it’s part of an active investigation. She also criticizes the law that said midwives can never work with a patient again if care has to be transferred to a hospital.
"People have built a relationship over nine months with their provider, and all of a sudden in a crisis moment that we need extra help, they are now completely cutoff from that provider that they have that relationship with," said Cleckner.
In response, a health department spokesman said the agency can’t comment on pending litigation.