Doula Services Advisory Committee
In 2023, Tennessee passed Public Chapter No. 424, a law that requires the creation of a Doula Services Advisory Committee. The General Assembly recognizes several vital factors regarding doula care. Firstly, they acknowledge that pregnant and postpartum women who receive doula care experience improved health outcomes for themselves and their infants, such as higher breastfeeding initiation rates, fewer low birth weight babies, and lower rates of cesarean deliveries. Secondly, they understand that the financial impact of doula care can help families and the state by reducing costs associated with low-birth-weight babies, cesarean births, and other pregnancy-related complications. Lastly, they emphasize the importance of a successful Medicaid coverage program for doula care that respects and supports the autonomy of doulas while being inclusive of various types of birth support work, including community-based and traditional practices. The General Assembly intends to establish an educated and prepared doula workforce that serves pregnant women in the state, specifically focusing on communities facing significant birth disparities.
The Doula Services Advisory Committee is required to:
- Create core competencies and standards for doula services
- Propose multiple options for a Medicaid reimbursement plan, including rates and fee schedules
- Propose incentive-based programs such as fee waivers
- Examine outcomes, findings, and reports from existing doula-related pilot programs
- Produce a report to the Legislature within 18 months of the first meeting