THE WOMEN'S HEALTH CAUCUS


 

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Women’s Health Caucus applauds DHS’s commitment to maternal health

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Cephas announces Medicaid extension for postpartum care, highlights new money for maternal health initiatives

(Apr 18, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined state Sen. Tim Kearney and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead today at the Maternity Care Coalition in Philadelphia to highlight the implementation of Opt In PA, an initiative extending Medicaid support for postpartum individuals from 60 days to one year across the state. President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act included a provision that gives states an option to extend Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum; the Pa. Department of Human Services made the decision to opt into this provision, extending that coverage from 60 days to one year. Implementation was effective April 1. “Constituents who use Medicaid should contact their providers to see how this impacts them and their care,” said Cephas, who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Women’s Health Caucus and serves on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. Cephas also discussed a recently committed $25.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding for a new maternal and child health initiative in Pennsylvania called the COVID-19 Nurturing Maternal and Child Health Initiative. The initiative recognizes the impact the pandemic had on Pennsylvania communities and makes strategic investments to implement innovative and informed improvements into the public health continuum. NMCH will reach millions of more birthing parents and children through doula services, targeted services, healthy eating Read more

PA Women’s Health Caucus Applauds Medicaid Coverage Extension for Postpartum Individuals

(Feb 25, 2022)

PHOENIXVILLE, Feb. 25 -- The co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) hosted a press conference today at Tower Health in Phoenixville to applaud the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ decision to opt in our Medicaid program for postpartum individuals. “As a public health expert, it is important that we prioritize our resources in ways that will ensure better health outcomes for all Pennsylvanians,” said Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-17 Montgomery/Delaware) and co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “Birthing individuals can experience health complications up to one year postpartum and beyond. By extending Medicaid coverage to one year, we are improving maternal mortality and morbidity, improving childhood health outcomes, and ensuring a healthy start for Pennsylvania families.” As part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, this provides a federal option for states to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum individuals from 60 days to one year. The program will start on April 1, 2022 and be available for five years in Pennsylvania. "It's clear that 60 days of postpartum coverage is not only insufficient, it's also dangerous,” said Senator Judy Schwank (D-11 Berks) and co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “By extending postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months, Pennsylvania is seizing a major opportunity to address the shocking rate of postpartum Read more

Daley to introduce legislation to protect privacy of pregnant people

(Feb 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, plans to introduce legislation barring crisis pregnancy centers from sharing personal and health data gathered without permission from individuals. The legislation comes following an addendum to a 2021 report on CPCs and their use of taxpayer dollars to fund their operations. The addendum , released today, outlines the sophisticated collection of personal and health data being used to surveille pregnant people after going to a CPC. Since these centers typically do not provide any true medical services, they are not subjected to current laws surrounding patient privacy. “Now that we’ve seen citizens-turned-vigilantes empowered to take those seeking reproductive health care to court in other states, this mining of personal information can open the door for personal attacks on pregnant people looking for help,” Daley said. “Regulations must be put in place to protect the personal information of those who interact with a CPC.” According to the newly released report, CPCs are collecting information from individuals and sending it to the larger network of facilities. Daley says these “digital dossiers” could be used to prosecute women in a post-Roe world, as well as actively try to influence a person’s decision over reproductive health care. “These regional and nationwide groups are taking sensitive information and disseminating it through their Read more

Cephas joins First Lady Wolf, administration officials, Tuttleman Foundation to announce doula pilot program for pregnant women who are incarcerated

(Feb 14, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined First Lady Frances Wolf and the Departments of Human Services and Corrections to announce a new partnership that is bringing doula services to women who are pregnant while incarcerated. Doula services have been found to ease the pregnancy and labor process and improve birth outcomes for both mother and child, according to many studies. Funded through the Tuttleman Foundation, the doula pilot at State Correctional Institute Muncy will expand pregnancy and parenting supports for women who are incarcerated, a key goal of Cephas’s. Wolf said that the goal of the program is to support mothers through a difficult and vulnerable period and empower them as they prepare to re-enter their communities. “I'm glad – and proud – to see that the Department of Corrections is recognizing the importance of doulas in the fight to reduce maternal mortality among incarcerated women and improve birthing outcomes for birthing people and children,” Cephas said. “We now have an opportunity to capitalize on this momentum to pass legislation in the House or Senate to include Medicaid coverage for doulas for all birthing people, and the full Dignity for Incarcerated Women bill to show compassion for the unique circumstances that these women face.” Cephas was previously joined by Dream Corps JUSTICE, the American Conservative Union and Ardella’s House, along with other stakeholders, Read more

PA Women’s Health Caucus Responds to Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget Address

(Feb 10, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 -- The co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) applaud Governor Tom Wolf for his budget proposal that utilizes the nearly $6 billion budget surplus and puts Pennsylvania on the path to make historic investments in education, criminal justice, and public health. The WHC said it is proud to see numerous proposals related to the health and wellness of women and families across the Commonwealth, specifically: $8 million to extend postpartum coverage for birthing parents eligible for Medical Assistance to 12 months. $15 million, a 77% increase, to implement additional evidence-based home visiting and family support services to 3,800 additional families across the Commonwealth. $1.2 million to add postpartum depression as an eligible tracking category for early identification of need for early intervention services. $500,000, a 50% increase, to support “It’s On Us PA”, which promotes healthy relationships and protects students from sexual violence. $30 million to fund two new childcare options for state employees. $1 million for reentry services to women. Increase in the minimum wage: proposing an increase to $12 an hour effective July 1, 2022, with an annual increase of 50 cents until it reaches $15 in 2028. “I’m thrilled to see many proposals geared towards expanding healthcare coverage, increasing access to childcare, and broadening evidence-based home visiting,” said Senator Read more