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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 18, 2019 02:35 PM
From: Representative Morgan Cephas
To: All House members
Subject: Addressing Maternal Mortality: Medicaid Coverage for Doulas
Of the developed countries, the United States ranks amongst the highest in maternal mortality – a statistic that rings especially true for women of color. Motherhood and the transition to motherhood can have extreme physical and mental impacts. Mothers who are surrounded by a network of support often report better mental and physical health outcomes. A part of the sad reality is that many mothers navigate motherhood alone, leaving them feeling isolated and overwhelmed by some of the most drastic changes in their lives. Women of color continue to report higher maternal and infant mortality rates even when factors like education and income level are controlled for.

Doulas are not only shown to improve maternal and infant health, but many are specifically trained in cultural competence to address the intersectional experience that is pregnancy and motherhood.. Research shows that access to doula services (before, during and after pregnancy) can bridge the unacceptable inequity, providing tailored care for women who so desperately need a support system.

As such, this legislation would extend Medicaid coverage to doula services while also creating a Doula Advisory Board. The board would be responsible for determining the approved accreditation organizations for doulas, the competencies that should be required to ensure doulas are properly equipped to serve the mothers of Pennsylvania, and setting standards based on best practices for doula professionals.

Please join me in supporting this legislation to provide a compassionate and life-saving support system for pregnant women and mothers in the Commonwealth.

Introduced as HB2109