NYS set to unveil doula program to help women during childbirth

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BROOKLYN -

A pilot program attempted in 2011, now re-introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would cover doula services under Medicaid in Brooklyn.

A doula, which in Greek translates to female servant, is non-medical care for women before, during and after childbirth.

"A doula is someone that offers emotional and physical support and as well as what we say at ancient song advocacy,” says Chanel Porchia-Albert, of Ancient Song Doula Services.

Gov. Cuomo recently announced the state will be taking its second go of covering doula services with Medicaid in both Erie County and parts of Brooklyn. 
 
The initiative is meant to combat maternal mortality where data says New York ranks number 30 in the country and hopes to address racial health care disparities. 

"A lot of it has to do with the structures that are currently in place that aren’t in place to care for black people and people of color,” says Porchia-Albert.

Whereas some doulas can make thousands of dollars per birth, under new regulations, that number is much less. 
 
"They're not getting a living wage. And so, they're getting reimbursed $510 per birth. And sometimes doulas are spending an extended time with a client. You could be at a birth for four days,” says Porchia-Albert. 
 
Some hope the government would take an approach to this pilot program that is similar to the way a doula cares for their client. 
 
"The New York State Health Department really needs to listen to their community and that community needs to be an active stakeholder within their care,” says Porchia-Albert.

The program is set to roll out in early 2019.

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