The information presented on these pages is for informational purposes only. Links to official documentation and information is provided where and when possible. Please consult local government authorities for current and accurate information.
The Ohio Legislature and Department of Medicaid are engaged in conversation and actions related to doulas. The Ohio Legislature has proposed bills in the last several sessions related to recognition of a doula week and others to Medicaid coverage of doula services. Most recently, Representative Brinkman sponsored House Bill 142 (HB 142) which establishes a five-year program for Medicaid coverage of doula services and provides doula services to inmates under the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) is including coverage of doula services in its multi-phase process of improving maternal health. Both legislative and administrative efforts related to doula services are in the beginning phases.
Legislative: 2021 HB 142
HB 142 requires a doula to be certified by the Ohio Board of Nursing. While the definition of doula in the bill is broad, the Board of Nursing is directed to adopt rules for certification including:
- Requirements for certification as a doula either through a doula training organization or sufficient education and experience that the board considers appropriate.
- Requirements for renewal of a certificate and continuing education.
- Requirements for training on racial bias, health disparities, and cultural competency for initial certification and renewal.
- Certification application and renewal fees.
- Waiver for applicants with family income not exceeding 300% of the federal poverty line.
- Standards of practice for certified doulas.
HB 142 prohibits a person from using the title of “certified doula” unless the person holds a certificate issued by the Board of Nursing and the bill authorizes the board to impose a fine on any person who uses the title without being certified by the Board of Nursing.
While the bill directs the Board of Nursing to establish rules and procedures for certification, it is also creates a Doula advisory board to provide guidance and recommendations to the Board of Nursing, Department of Medicaid, and the Medicaid Director.
HB 142, also, clarifies which organizations will be immediately recognized as doula training organizations. A “doula training organization” is defined in HB 142 as “an organization that is recognized at an international, national, state, or local level for training and certifying doulas” and includes:
- Birthing Beautiful Communities.
- Restoring Our Own through Transformation.
- The International Childbirth Education Association.
- DONA International.
- The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators.
- Birthworks International.
- Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.
- Childbirth International.
- The International Center for Traditional Childbearing.
- Commonsense Childbirth Inc.
- and any other recognized organization the Board of Nursing considers appropriate.
Representative Brinkman introduced HB 142 in February of 2021. It was reported to the health committee, but eventually sent to the House Committee on Families, Aging, and Human Services. One hearing was held where Representatives Brinkman (R-27th District) and Representative Crawley (D-Columbus) testified in favor citing the benefits of doula services in improving birth experiences and outcomes. No vote was taken and no further hearings on HB 142 have taken place in the committee.
Administrative Effort: MISP
The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) has also taken steps to address maternal and infant health through agency action. While the legislature can require ODM to take action–such as HB 142 would require–ODM may go through the rulemaking process to create administrative rules around doula certification and reimbursement. Under its Maternal Infant Support Program (MISP) Umbrella, ODM is instituting a variety of programs to support maternal and infant health through a three-phase system and coverage of doula services has been consistently been included as an initiative.
How to Get Involved in the Lawmaking Process
Get Involved in Legislation
The final committee hearings before summer will occur in early June. If you would like to get involved in advocating for or against, or have amendment suggestions for HB 142, you should reach out to your representative, the bill sponsor Representative Brinkman, or the Chair of the House Committee on Family, Aging, and Human Services. To move forward the bill Committee would need to hold a hearing, have HB 142 on the calendar, and make a recommendation to the House.
Get involved in Administrative RuleMaking
As of June 2021, ODM intended to increase access to doula care during the third phase. It is unclear what stage ODM is currently at, but if you would like to be updated on future actions you can subscribe to MISP communications through the MISP Program website.
Related News Articles
Brinkman, Crawley Testify on Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Medicaid to Provide Reimbursement for Doulas, Thomas Brinkman Jr. News–Ohio House of Representatives (May 27, 2021).
House Bill 142 – Proponent Testimony, ACLU (October 28, 2021)
Doulas can help curb infant mortality and support women. Ohio lawmakers want to make access easier, The Columbus Dispatch (July 8, 2021)
Links to official documentation and information is provided where and when possible. Please consult local government authorities for current and accurate information.