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Could Medicaid Reimbursement Be a Solution to Black Maternal Mortality?

AP Photo / Teresa Crawford

This year, lawmakers took action to start collecting data on Virginia’s maternal mortality rate. But, that may end up being just the beginning of the effort.

Dying while giving birth is a serious problem for black women in Virginia, who are more likely to die in childbirth than any other race.

That’s why Delegate Lashrecse Aird says it’s so critical that state collects data on this.

“To really get to the root causes of why we have one of the highest number of women dying as a result of maternal mortality,” says Aird.

She was part of a group of lawmakers that helped create a new system of data collection this year. But what happens after all that data has been collected and analyzed? One potential solution is doulas.

“Doulas are trained professionals who provide physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth,” says Freddy Mejia at the Commonwealth Institute.

“This could be seen as a possible solution in order to lower the rates of black maternal mortality and make sure that more black women have good health outcomes while they’re starting their new journey as a family.”

He says Virginia should join three other states that offer Medicaid reimbursement for these services.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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