How Nicholson-funded Medicaid Academy Lead to Doula Reimbursement in NJ Medicaid

The Center for Healthcare Strategies has published a blog post telling the story of how the Nicholson-funded Medicaid Academy led to state officials leading a push to have doula care reimbursed through NJ’s Medicaid program. Doula care is associated with better birth outcomes, yet as of March 2019, only three states (Oregon, New York, and Minnesota) reimbursed doula care through Medicaid.

New Jersey Medicaid Academy is an eight-month long leadership and professional capacity-building program for state health and human service staff. The program also provides select Academy graduates an opportunity to collaborate across government agencies to tackle a real-world policy issue. 

Through this program, two Academy graduates led a cross-agency effort to focus on the immense health disparities in infant and maternal mortality among black mothers and babies. The team analyzed various policy options, and developed and implemented a pilot training program for doulas. Their work identifying strategies to sustain the pilot led to a recommendation to Medicaid leadership to support reimbursement for doula services through Medicaid.

As a result of their work, the New Jersey State Legislature and Assembly have passed a bill (Bill A-1662) that would allow doula services to be reimbursed under the state’s Medicaid program for the first time – making New Jersey the fourth state in the nation to reimburse doula care through Medicaid.