Maternal, Infant Health Highlight Budget Proposal
10 December 2019 News
December 10, 2019
From the AP Wire
RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam announced $22 million for efforts to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, and to reduce the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate.
The proposed funding is another step in the effort to reduce racial disparities in several parts of the Commonwealth’s bureaucracy. That goal has been a focus of Northam’s term in office. Specifically, he announced in June that he wants to eliminate the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate by 2025. The proposed funding would also expand Medicaid coverage for new moms, increase home visiting and explore Medicaid reimbursement for Doula support services.
“It is unacceptable that black women in Virginia continue to die from pregnancy-related causes at more than twice the rate of white women,” Northam said in a press release. “As a Commonwealth, we can and must do better. These historic investments will make a real difference for families across Virginia, and will ensure that all moms and children have access to the high-quality, culturally-competent care they deserve.”
Members of Northam’s administration have been working towards this proposal for months. Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey traveled across the state with a group of stakeholders to get input on possible improvements the state could make. Mothers, medical professionals, doctors and community advocates met with Carey and his group to discuss what could possibly be done to improve maternal mortality rates in VA.
The budget proposal includes $4 million over the biennium to extend Medicaid coverage up to one year post-pregnancy and include medically necessary treatment for addiction and substance use disorder. It will add another $4 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding that will offer affordable and reliable contraception to those who need it. Additionally, the Governor’s budget includes $12.8 million to make home visiting services eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.
Governor Northam intends to address the Joint Money Committees on Dec. 17 to share the full details of his budget plan.
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