Skip to Main Content

Doula Program Highlighted at Maternal Health Collaborative

InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO) was recently invited to present to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on their partnership with the Community Doula Program as part of the CMS Improving Maternal Health by Reducing Low-Risk Cesarean Delivery Learning Collaborative. The collaborative was formed to support the design and implementation of Medicaid projects intended to increase maternal and infant health and improving health equity. 

Presenting as part of the State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies and Obstetrical Partners: Working Together to Reduce Low-Risk Cesarean Deliveries, the presentation highlighted the community partnership model developed by IHN-CCO through the Delivery System Transformation Committee. Topics of particular interest were the Oregon THW Doula scope, the benefits of community-based doula care for Medicaid populations, barriers to utilization and the role of Coordinated Care Organizations in integrating non-clinical Traditional Health Workers into care models.

The community partnership model highlighted the necessity of locally based programming coupled with health system integration and sustainable funding opportunities as essential to improving health outcomes in the midst of the United States’ maternal health crisis. 

Doulas are non-clinical providers that support families during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period with resources, advocacy and specialized training in labor support.

The Community Doula Program was developed to offer socially, culturally and linguistically matched doula care to IHN-CCO members with the goal of increasing health equity and ensuring all people have someone who understands their pregnancy and birth experience. Families with a doula from the Community Doula Program have seen a reduction in pre-term and cesarean birth rates, near universal breast/chest feeding initiation and high rates of family satisfaction with their birth experience. 

With the passage of HB3650 in 2013, Oregon became one of the earliest state adopters of Medicaid reimbursed doula services in the nation. Oregon’s Traditional Health Worker system allows for doulas to serve as independent Medicaid billing providers and has served as a model for programming around the country.

As part of this larger conversation, IHN-CCO and the CDP continue to share their partnership and programming efforts as an example for state Medicaid agencies nationwide. 

About InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization 

IHN-CCO was formed in 2012 as a partnership to improve the health outcomes of the people living in Benton, Lincoln, and Linn counties, Oregon. The partnership consists of county governments and their public health, mental health and addiction service departments, local health care providers, federally qualified health centers, community-based organizations and more. IHN-CCO serves more than 80,000 Oregon Health Plan members.