Pennsylvania lawmakers are working to make doulas covered by health insurance

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Kaci Wood had several goals when she found out she was pregnant, including giving birth without pain medication and breastfeeding.

“I knew doulas could help with prenatal and birth,” Wood said.

A doula, as Amy Wilt, LPN, explains, supports people “through their labors by being a strong emotional and physical support for them.

Wilt is a certified doula and owner of Dauphin County Doulas, an organization that provides doulas to people who need them.

“People are starting to get educated about what we do, how we can help, and the benefits of a doula,” Wilt said.

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Several education introducing the presence of a doula reduces the need for pain medication and C-sections, reduces healthcare costs, and can improve overall outcomes for mothers and their babies.

“The problem with nurses, even if they are very good, they only care about 25% of the patients, so they leave 75% of the delivery time alone and this is important,” said Wilt.

Wilt was by Wood’s side at the birth of both of his children.

“You can tell him what’s happening in your body and he can tell you what to do. “They put me in different positions to help advance my career,” said Wood. “Amy stayed with me until I went to the postpartum unit, which is just great because not every doula can do that. He is very special to me and my family. “

When a woman is in labor a doula can be her voice, helping to express her wishes to the medical staff.

“He was able to get me to take off the fetal heart monitor and get up and walking and advance my labor,” Wood said. “One thing I really wanted was a delay in cord clamping and not bathing in the hospital, because there are things about {newborns} that protect them, and they made sure those things were done.”

Doula services, which can cost between $800 and $1,500, are not covered by insurance.

“I’m sure the first time moms, who don’t have the money to pay for a doula, don’t look back because they know they’re going to be burdened by this,” Wood said.

Pennsylvania State Representative Morgan Cephas (D-Philadelphia) is working to change that.

House price 1175 requires Medicaid to reimburse doula services and focuses on maternal mortality. In In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania we saw a 21% increase in maternal deaths death and it was before the epidemic,” said Rep. Cephas.

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Rep. Cephas says Wolf’s administration was able to request a waiver to help pay for doulas through Medicaid.

“They were able to ask the Federal Government to remove this from their Medicaid coverage, so that’s something they’re moving forward and they’re already doing it so we don’t need to change the law. The next thing is to get private insurance to do their part. Usually Medicaid moves forward and then when the research shows that lowers health risk, lowers costs, so private insurance companies tend to follow,” said Rep. Cephas.

“If enough people complain that they want to publish it I hope they will listen,” Wilt said.

Wood hopes that other mothers will have access to the support she had during her birth.

“It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.” Amy is very important because she touched my life. They brought my children into the world and I’m proud of that,” Wood said.

Rep. Cephas says he is working on a bill to allow doulas with private insurance.

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