Push for Medicaid to cover doula care in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A push to get more support for new mothers took place at the Capitol this week. Testimony heard before a State Senate joint public hearing on Tuesday discussing Medicaid coverage for doulas in New York State.

Doulas care for new mothers when they’re caring for a new baby. They provide emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. In many developed countries around the world, doulas have become standard.

“Birth outcomes are better, maternal healthcare outcomes are better, their entire systems are build to support mothers, and that’s what our state and our country is missing” said Kaitlin McGreyes, founder of “Be Her Village,” a baby registry where people can buy postpartum support for new moms, including funding for a doula. 

“My goal is to have every single mother have the support she needs wants and deserves,” said McGreyes. “Every single mother should be cared for just as much as her baby is cared for and the reason I’m going to the capital today is to go and tell the legislators.” With the help of Saratoga doula and owner of Allo Saratoga, Christine Hernandez, McGreyes is lobbying for Medicaid coverage of doulas here in New York.

“There are plenty of people who can’t afford doula access up here,” said Hernandez. “For us to be able to make it something that’s going to make it more accessible, if Medicaid is going to reimburse people, if other insurance companies are going to reimburse people then we could really benefit in Saratoga too.”

Cost has been a huge deterrent for many new moms. A doula can range from $1,000-$3,000, but new statistics are proving their value. A study published by The Lancet reported that women who had doulas experienced 57% lower odds of postpartum depression and 52% lower odds of cesarean delivery.

There are other states that currently require Medicaid to reimburse for doula services including New Jersey, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota and Rhode Island. McGreyes and Hernandez hope their time at the capital this week urges New York to be next. 

“We need to prioritize mothers, parents and families so that we can care for them and give them what they deserve,” said McGreyes.