Governor Murphy Signs Legislative Package to Lower Maternal and Infant Death Rate in NJ

On Wednesday, May 8th, Governor Phil Murphy signed four bills to combat the maternal and infant mortality rates and to “eliminate racial disparities in health care.” – Photo courtest of Tammy Murphy Facebook Page

On Wednesday, May 8th, Governor Phil Murphy signed a package of bills that will help combat the states maternal and infant health crisis and allow Medicaid coverage for doula care.

“By enacting these measures today, New Jersey is making a strong statement that every mother, every birth, and every child matters,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am proud to sign these bills into law and commend my partners in the Legislature for their commitment to improve the health and safety of New Jersey’s women, children, and families.”

The bills signed include:

·  S1784 (Weinberg, Gill/Pintor Marin, Jimenez, Sumter) – Provides Medicaid coverage for doula care.

·  S3365 (Pou, Cryan/Mosquera, Taliaferro, Benson) – Establishes perinatal episode of care pilot program in Medicaid.

·  S3378 (Ruiz, Greenstein/McKnight, Mukherji, Huttle) – Prohibits health benefits coverage for certain non-medically indicated early elective deliveries under Medicaid program, SHBP, and SEHBP.

·  S3406 (Kean, Vitale/Lampitt, Pintor Marin, Mosquera) – Codifies current practice regarding completion of Perinatal Risk Assessment form by certain Medicaid health care providers.

The bills will support the Nurture NJ campaign which was launched by First Lady Tammy Murphy and aims to lower the states maternal and infant mortality rates and to “eliminate racial disparities in health care.”

“Under the leadership of Governor Murphy, First Lady Murphy and the Legislature, New Jersey has made improving maternal and infant health a top priority,” New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “The legislation signed into law today represents critical steps in advancing our goal of ‎eliminating the unacceptable disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes in our State.  At the Department of Human Services, we look forward to implementing these new laws including adding doula services to our Medicaid program as proposed in the Governor’s budget.”  

Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) says that these bills will help “countless women” to make the right decisions through their pregnancy and applauds doula care under Medicaid. According to is doula is a trained professional who gives continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a soon to be mother, before, during, and after a child is born.

“These are some of the most vulnerable women in our state, women who are often without any options for health insurance beyond Medicaid,” Weinberg said. “By covering doula care under Medicaid we are giving support, advocacy and comfort to women in some of their most vulnerable moments of life. This law is going to help countless women each year make strong, supported and informed decisions throughout their pregnancy.”