• Mary Charles Sutphin C.N.M., M.N.

    Corresponding author
    1. Mary Charles Sutphin received her B.S. in Nursing from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her Masters in Maternity Nursing and Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery from Columbia University. She is presently serving on the Legislative Committee of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and is a member of the Obstetrics Task Force of the West Virginia Health Systems Agency. She is currently employed as a nurse-midwife in a private obstetrical group practice at the Southern West Virginia Clinic, in Beckley, West Virginia.
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  • This article was presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American College of Nurse-Midwifes as a part of a Panel Discussion on “You and Your Government,” Miami Beach, Florida, May 1979.

Address correspondence to Mary Charles Sutphin, CNM, Southern West Virginia Clinic, P.O. Box 50, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.


This article reviews Public Law 93–641, the National Health Planning and Resource Development Act of 1974. Particular attention is given to Health Systems Agencies—their purpose, organization, and function—and a plea voiced for nurse-midwives to get involved in health planning and legislation. An overview of Health Systems agencies is provided, including items for priority consideration under Public Law 93–641, the functions of a health systems agency, and how health systems agencies carry out their functions. The author describes her experience with the Obstetrics Component of the West Virginia Health Systems Agency, as well as her involvement in the Plan Development Committee's Task Force on Obstetrics. Suggestions are offered to assist nurses and nurse-midwives in becoming involved in health planning.