Providence, RI (STL.News) Governor Dan McKee, joined by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, and Senator Ana Quezada today held a ceremonial bill signing for legislation (2021-H 5929A, 2021-S 0484A) which will make doula services eligible for reimbursement through private insurance plans.
The bill signing took place at Providence Community Health Center on Prairie Avenue, which offers affordable, quality, primary health care to meet the community’s medical needs.
“I am proud to sign legislation that will improve labor and delivery outcomes, particularly for women of color in Rhode Island,” said Governor McKee. “Doula services have time and again demonstrated their ability to save lives and provide the level of care mothers and their babies need. This legislation will both improve access and ensure affordability of doulas for all Rhode Island women.”
“It’s unacceptable that women of color and particularly Black women are dying at rates three to four times higher than white women. All women deserve a safe and healthy childbirth experience. Doulas are a proven solution, and improving women’s access to them will go a long way toward getting women, particularly women of color, and their babies off to a strong and safe start,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence). “I am proud that Rhode Island is taking action to ensure that Black women and women of color have the high-quality prenatal, maternal and postnatal care they need to stay healthy and give birth to strong babies who deserve a safe start at life.”
“There is no question that this bill will save lives and be good for women of color in Rhode Island, but it also makes strong economic sense,” said Senator Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence). “Women who use doulas often require fewer expensive medical interventions during childbirth, which will save insurers money and make the childbirth process much easier for all involved.”
The legislation was also included in the state budget bill.