Governor Inslee signs HB 1881 creating a voluntary certification process for doulas.
Two years ago the Governor included in the 2020 Supplemental Budget a requirement that the Washington State Healthcare authority reimburse services provided by doulas. Initial steps were taken by Health Care Authority when it filed a statement of inquiry in August 2020, but the statement was withdrawn in October of 2020.
Fast forward to 2022, after years of efforts by doula organizations, HB 1881 was enacted. It was passed through the house with 85 yeas and 8 nays, then passed unanimously (49-0) by the Senate. See our Washington State page for more information on HB 1881.
Doulas were a large part of the effort in proposing and supporting HB 1881. One advocacy organization–Doulas For All Coalition–engaged with lawmakers throughout the process of proposing and enacting HB 1881 and continues their advocacy by pushing for doula services to be reimbursed by Medicaid. About 37% of births in Washington State are financed by Medicaid, but black community members are twice a likely to be on Medicaid as white community members. Doulas For All views the enactment of HB 1881 and the development of a certification as the next necessary step toward qualifying for Medicaid and increasing access to a doula and doula services for the BIPOC community.
The next step is for the Department of Health and the State Health Care Authority to initiate the rulemaking process and clarify the details of the certification requirements and process. If you would like to stay updated on the rulemaking process you can sign up for notifications here. The rulemaking process is supposed to be a way for the public to get involved in establishing guidelines and procedures so pay attention for ways to give public input at hearings or to submit testimony. When signing up for notifications can you receive all notifications under a “General Rulemaking” subscription or subscribe to Chapter 182-502 (Administration of medical programs-Providers) and 182-533 (Maternity-related services) which are the sections under which the statement of inquiry in 2020 was made.
Other Articles about HB 1881
South Seattle Emerald, WASHINGTON BIRTH DOULAS ADVOCATED FOR A PATHWAY TO CERTIFICATION — AND WON (April 1, 2022)
King 5, House passes bill allowing Medicaid to pay for doula services (February 9, 2022)