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Proposed budget announced to combat maternal, infant mortality in Virginia

Gov. Northam proposed $22 million to expand Medicaid coverage for new moms, increase home visiting, and explore Medicaid reimbursement for Doula support services.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's Govern Ralph Northam said his proposed budget released on Monday will help combat maternal and infant mortality and reduce the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate.  

About $22 million has been proposed to expand Medicaid coverage for new moms, increase home visiting, and explore Medicaid reimbursement for Doula support services. 

RELATED: Virginia moves to lower black women's maternal death rate

RELATED: Virginia governor seeks drop in black women's maternal death rate

Data from the Virginia Maternal Mortality Review Team claim that the majority of pregnancy-associated deaths occur more than 43 days after pregnancy. However, the current FAMIS MOMs program only provides Medicaid coverage for women during pregnancy and 60-days postpartum.

Northam's proposed budget includes nearly $4 million over the biennium to extend this coverage up to one-year post-pregnancy and include medically necessary treatment for addiction and substance use disorder.

Back in June, Northam announced his goal to eliminate the racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate by 2025. Since then, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey gathered a group of stakeholders and embarked on a 10-stop listening tour across all regions of the Commonwealth.

RELATED: Northam Administration to hold maternal health listening sessions

“It is unacceptable that black women in Virginia continue to die from pregnancy-related causes at more than twice the rate of white women,” said Governor Northam. “As a Commonwealth, we can and must do better. These historic investments will make a real difference for families across Virginia, and will ensure all moms and children have access to the high-quality, culturally-competent care they deserve.”

The proposed budget includes $4 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to increase access to affordable, reliable contraception through the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) program. It also made a significant investment of $12.8 million to invest in community-driven and wrap-around treatment models.

Governor Northam is expected to address the Joint Money Committees on December 17 to share the full details of his budget plan.

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