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California extends maternity services in Medi-Cal including doula and midwife care

CALIFORNIA (KION) Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 65, also known as the Momnibus Act, which not only updates data collection and protocols for the state's fetal and infant mortality rates but also extends maternity care services to include doula and midwife care to Medi-Cal recipients.

Even though California's infant mortality rate is lower than the national average, Black babies die at more than double the rate than the statewide average, and the death rate for Black pregnant and postpartum mothers is more than three times the state average. Native American infant mortality rate is also higher than the state norm.

"These are preventable deaths, but these deaths and racial gaps in mortality rates didn't happen in a vacuum," said Jennifer Newsom in a press conference on Monday. "We, as a state, have a moral imperative to root out these problems from the ground up through evidence-based prevention and interventions."

Following the federal Black Maternal Momnibus Act of 2021 that was introduced to the House in February, California's SB 65 will do the following:

  • expand doula care to Medi-Cal recipients, regardless of immigration status.
  • add midwives to the Song Brown Act, which funds primary care medical residency and other medical training programs that admit underrepresented groups from underserved communities
  • provide a monthly stipend to low-income mothers who are at least 6 months pregnant all the way to two years after birth.
  • include additional CalWORKs program support, removing rules that limit participation
  • update data collection and protocols for counties participating in the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Process
  • expand California's Pregnancy-Associcaited Mrotality Review Committee to investigate maternal mortality and morbidity, racial and socioeconomic disparities and come up with recommended best practices to address those issues.
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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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