EOHHS: Medicaid to cover doula, community health workers services

CRANSTON – Doula and community health worker services are now covered by Medicaid in Rhode Island after receiving federal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

State lawmakers had already approved the coverage, which is meant to support pregnant and postpartum women, in the state budget in fiscal year 2022.

In anticipation of the approval, the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the state agency that oversees Medicaid reimbursements, hosted online trainings that drew more than 190 community health workers, doulas and others to learn the details of enrollment and the billing process.

Medicaid managed care organizations also hosted trainings for doulas in advance of their service becoming a part of managed care.

- Advertisement -

Doulas will be available through MCOs, which serve RIte Care members, while care from community health workers will be delivered through fee-for-service Medicaid, according to EOHHS.

“Increasing access to doula services is expected to have positive effects on maternal health and birth outcomes, and in particular improve health equity,” said Ana Novais, EOHHS acting secretary.

According to the agency, non-Hispanic Black women experience serious health problems or complications during pregnancy at a rate of 306 per 10,000, as opposed to 179.4 per 10,000 in non-Hispanic white women.

“EOHHS is grateful for the engagement of the community health worker and doula provider communities, as well as the advocates, other health care providers and managed care organizations who are preparing to support this work,” said Kristin Sousa, Rhode Island’s Medicaid program director.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.