COLUMBUS— State Reps. Tom Brinkman (R-27th District) and Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) today provided sponsor testimony before the House Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee for House Bill (HB) 142, which would allow Medicaid to provide reimbursement for doula services.
“Medicaid covers over 50 percent of the 138,000 plus births in Ohio each year; however, doula services are not covered by Medicaid. Studies show that the continuous support of doulas before, during, and after childbirth result in decreased pregnancy risks and increased patient satisfaction,” said Rep. Crawley.
Rep. Brinkman noted studies have also shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.
“Doulas provide a more positive childbirth experience for women while also saving individuals from costly services such as a cesarean section and pain-relief medications,” said Rep. Brinkman.
New York, Oregon, and Minnesota have implemented legislation in which Medicaid provides reimbursement for doula services.
“Providing this reimbursement would be cost-effective for the reduction of preterm birth and cesarean delivery, and would decrease preventable deaths and complications in birthing outcomes. This support is vital here in Ohio, where the preterm birth rate is higher than the national average, and the disparity in birth outcomes is one of the highest in the nation,” added Rep. Crawley.
HB 142 outlines the requirements for doula certification and establishes a doula advisory board, with guidelines on board membership, meeting occurrences, and duties. It also provides general advice, guidance, and recommendations to the Department of Medicaid regarding the pilot program. The Medicaid Director will be required to complete an annual report regarding the pilot program outcomes, including maternal morbidity, an estimated fiscal impact, and recommendations related to whether the pilot program should be continued.
HB 142 now awaits further hearings in the House Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee.