New York State to Launch Medicaid Doula Pilot Expansion

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Credits: Dona International

The State of New York will launch its Medicaid doula pilot expansion in Erie County and other parts of Kings County next year.

A doula is non-medical birth companion, who is trained to provide emotional, informational, and support to another woman before, during, or after childbirth. Research suggests that a doula helps increase positive health outcomes including reducing birth complications for the mother and the baby.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state’s Department of Health will start the doula pilot expansion on March 1, 2019. The department will commence the necessary training, outreach, and education efforts this month.

The doula pilot expansion is part of the governor’s multi-pronged initiative to reduce maternal mortality and racial disparities.

A crucial step to ensuring a safer and healthier New York

In a statement, Cuomo said, “Every New Yorker deserves a healthy childbirth experience regardless of ethnicity, birthplace or economic status.”  He added that expanding access to doula services is important to lessening racial disparities in maternal death rates.

The governor also vowed that his administration will continue to provide women with necessary resources and childcare.

Furthermore, Cuomo stated, “This pilot program is a significant step toward ensuring a safer, healthier and more just New York for all.”

On the other hand, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, commented, “It is a grave injustice that here in New York State black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women”

“This Medicaid pilot to cover doula services…will help to expand maternal care and save lives. All New York mothers, regardless of ethnicity, should have the same opportunity to live long healthy lives,” added Hochul.

Those interested to participate in the doula pilot must sign an attestation form provided by the state’s Health Department. They must affirm that they completed doula training that meets a set of core competencies.

Participating doulas will receive reimbursements from the New York State Medicaid Program for their services—support during labor and delivery, up to three prenatal visits and up to four postpartum visits.