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Doulas and Health Plans Gather to Discuss Shared Interests

Doulas and local health plan representatives meet in the QIT Center on March 5.

On March 5, doulas and health plan representatives gathered in the QIT Center to discuss their shared interest of providing comprehensive and cost-effective care for moms and families. The purpose of the meeting was for the groups to gain an understanding of one another's priority areas and identify future opportunities for collaboration. Research shows that doulas improve maternal and child health outcomes and are able to provide important hands-on care for moms and families. Because of these improved outcomes with minimal interventions, there is growing interest from health plans to integrate doulas into care teams.

This meeting was a part of WHAMglobal's Safer Childbirth City Initiative and the first of its kind in Pittsburgh. Health Plan representation included UPMC For You, Highmark Health, Gateway Health, United Healthcare, and Aetna Better Health. Several doula groups and health centers were represented, including: Healthy Start Inc., The Midwife Center, Squirrel Hill Health Center, AHN's Center for Inclusion Health, Pittsburgh Doula Network, Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge, and the Allegheny County Health Department.

The group quickly identify shared interests and initial next steps including researching how other states and models, such as New York and San Francisco, have integrated doulas into their health plans. The group will collectively brainstorm how to finance doula services and will work together to develop a plan for establishing value around social determinants of health. WHAMglobal looks forward to continuing to coordinate this group and work towards ensuring the availability of doulas for all moms and families that would benefit from their services. 

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