Busy year for state legislatures

States considering (and passing!) positive maternal and infant health policies continue to grow.

With the help of special software, the Parents as Teachers Government and Community Engagement team tracks policy developments in each state that are relevant to the home visiting field. This includes bills that could impact the implementation of the PAT model in states and home visitation broadly, and aligned policies that support positive maternal and infant health outcomes.

Doulas, Show Me Strong Families, Parents as Teachers, Black Maternal Health

Members of the Show Me Strong Families affiliate in St. Louis layer doula care into home visiting for families that indicate an interest.

PAT is especially thrilled to see nationwide momentum for expanding access to doula services and postpartum health care coverage for Medicaid-insured parents. Evidence shows that access to doula care increases the likelihood of a healthy birth outcome and positive birth experience. That’s why the Show Me Strong Families PAT affiliate in St. Louis, MO is layering doula care into home visiting for enrolled families who indicate an interest.

PAT is currently tracking 70 bills across 25 states that affirm the importance of doula care and in some cases expand access to it. For example, the Colorado legislature recently sent a bill to Governor Jared Polis that requires the state to initiate a stakeholder process to promote the expansion and utilization of doula services for pregnant and postpartum Medicaid recipients. Utah Governor Spencer Cox recently signed a bill that requires doula coverage for state employees. And in Congress, Representatives Gwen Moore (WI) and Ayanna Pressley (MA) have introduced a resolution recognizing the work and contributions of doulas towards improving pregnancy, birth, and postpartum outcomes.

Six states have also recently passed legislation to expand access to healthcare coverage for Medicaid-enrolled parents from 60 days to 12 months after delivery. Federal law requires Medicaid coverage through 60 days postpartum, but with the recognition of the importance of coverage stability for the health of enrollees and babies and to address racial disparities, federal incentives are provided to states that pass extension policies. View the status of postpartum Medicaid extension policy across the country on this map from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additionally, PAT is tracking 97 postpartum coverage extension bills across 37 states. In addition to the 6 states that have passed the policy, 88 states have bills pending.

You can follow along with our state bill tracking here. As legislative sessions ebb and flow, this map is a work in progress and will be updated at least weekly. If there’s a relevant policy that’s not on here, email Lisa Clancy, Director of Policy and Advocacy at lisa.clancy@parentsasteachers.org.

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