House advances Cephas bill to strengthen doula services in Pa.

Clears other bills in Pennsylvania MOMNIBUS package

HARRISBURG, May 6 – PA House lawmakers today passed legislation authored by state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., that would extend Medicaid coverage to doula services in the state.

Under Cephas’ bill (H.B. 1608), Medicaid would reimburse certified doulas for providing childbirth education and support services, including physical and emotional support, during pregnancy, labor and delivery and up to one year postpartum.

“Research has shown that doula support leads to improved birth outcomes, including reduced rates of cesarean sections, shorter labor durations and higher rates of breastfeeding initiation. By providing continuous support throughout and after pregnancy, doulas contribute to safer and more positive birth experiences for families," Cephas said.

"Lack of health coverage for these services in Medicaid leads to a vast disparity in care for women who are already statistically at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, with Black birthing people at the highest risk of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity compared to other racial and ethnic groups. This legislation would give these parents a proven network of support needed to produce better mental and physical health outcomes during their birthing journey. I appreciate that my House colleagues understood the wisdom of providing this to moms who receive their health care under Medicaid.” 

The bill also would establish a Doula Advisory Board to set standards and requirements for doulas practicing in Pennsylvania. The board would include a diverse membership, including practicing providers and representatives from various state agencies. 

Cephas’ bill is part of the Pennsylvania MOMNIBUS legislative package of eight bills to improve maternal health outcomes.

The House also approved legislation (H.B. 2097) in the package by Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny, that would expand Medicaid coverage of blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum enrollees.

Earlier today the House Insurance Committee also reported to the full House legislation (H.B. 2138) in the package by state Rep. Mandy Steele, D-Allegheny, that would require insurance coverage for blood pressure monitors for home use as a pregnancy-related service for all Pennsylvanians. Last week the House Human Services Committee also approved a PA MOMNIBUS bill (H.B. 2137) that would establish a new state program to help ease the financial and emotional stress new moms and parents face by providing them with maternal and newborn supply kits and connecting them to additional support programs available at the state and county levels.

“I am delighted to see these bills to ensure better health outcomes for families moving through the legislative process,” Cephas said. “Ensuring the health care needs and rights of Pennsylvanians should be at the forefront of public policy in our legislature.”

Cephas’ and Mayes’ bills now go to the Senate for consideration. Steele’s bill goes to the full House for a future vote. More information on the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus and the PA MOMNIBUS can be found at