Michigan Medicaid enacts coverage of doula services
After establishing coverage criteria for doula services last September, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officially began covering doulas through Medicaid on Jan. 1st.
This move comes after the Michigan Legislature did not advance House Bill 5784 (2022) or Senate Bill 965 (2020), which were introduced by Representative Mary Whitford (R – Grand Rapids) and State Senator Erika Geiss (D – Romulus), respectively. HB 5784, through budget appropriations, aimed to create a doula care services pilot program, while SB 965 would have allowed Medicaid recipients to receive doula services.
Through MDHHS, Michigan Medicaid will join six other states that reimburse doula services provided to beneficiaries.
The Mayo Clinic describes a doula as a professional labor assistant who provides physical and emotional support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. The Mayo Clinic cites limited studies that doulas help decrease use of pain relief medication during labor, decrease incidence of C-sections, decrease in the length of labor, and decrease negative childbirth experiences.
Medicaid will cover different types of doula services, which include community-based doulas, prenatal doulas, labor and birth doulas, and postpartum doulas.
Michigan will cover doulas that are recommended by a licensed healthcare provider as required by federal regulation CFR 440.130(c). To be reimbursed, doulas must be Medicaid-enrolled providers and must be registered with the MDHHS Doula Registry.
To be registered with MDHHS, doulas must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and have completed training provided by an MDHHS-approved doula training program or organization.
Michigan will cover a maximum of six visits during prenatal and postpartum periods and one visit for attendance at labor and delivery. Additional covered visits can be requested through a prior authorization process for Medicaid Health Providers.
MDHHS is exploring other aspects of doula services though their Doula Initiative, which may include establishing a diverse doula advisory council, doula continuing education, ongoing doula provider support, and reviewing doula certification programs.