Department Of Human Services And Genesis Birth Services Highlight Medicaid Postpartum Coverage Period Extension
Provides Access to Critical Postpartum Care
Williamsport, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and Genesis Birth Services founder Gerria Coffee today celebrated Pennsylvania’s extension of Medicaid postpartum coverage for mothers and birthing people eligible because of their pregnancy.
Effective April 1, 2022, under the American Rescue Plan Act, the Medicaid postpartum coverage period was extended for mothers and birthing people who are eligible for the program because of their pregnancy to one year following the birth of a baby. Previously, Medicaid – or Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania – provided coverage for people eligible due to their pregnancy for only 60 days after giving birth.
“This extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage will help moms and people who give birth continue to access physical and behavioral health care necessary to keep themselves healthy and their families on a path to good health and well-being,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “Continuity of health care and being able to address physical and mental health issues when they arise are paramount to helping Pennsylvania’s parents, babies, and communities be healthy, safe, and thriving.”
Extending postpartum coverage for those covered through Medicaid will provide continuity in health care by allowing birthing parents to maintain relationships with and access to care providers undisrupted through a critical period in their and their babies’ lives.
Genesis Birth Services is a Perinatal Health Support organization headquartered in Williamsport and founded by Gerria ‘Mz Coffee’ Coffee, a full-spectrum doula, lactation consultant, midwife apprentice, radio station operations manager, radio program director, on-air personality, writer, and public speaker.
Since 2018, Genesis has been a beacon in the community, providing equitable in-person and virtual lactation support, doula support, childbirth education, pregnancy, and infant loss services to families in Pennsylvania and across the country. In 2021, Genesis Birth Services launched the first Black Breastfeeding Week events in North Central PA, and in 2022, launched the Genesis Birth Services PRISM Program in partnership with Pennsylvania’s departments of Corrections and Human Services to provide pregnancy, birth, and postpartum doula support to incarcerated individuals in Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions.
“Genesis Birth Services is committed to providing increased levels of continuous educational, emotional, and physical support in pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum,” said Coffee. “Complications such as infection, hemorrhage, pulmonary embolism, and pre-eclampsia can happen after a parent has given birth, making the birthing parent vulnerable up until one year postpartum regardless of the birth outcome. A Medicaid extension for postpartum care aligns with our mission to equitably improve maternal mortality/morbidity, infant mortality, maternal mental health, and breastfeeding rates for families. I’m looking forward to reviewing the data in years to come to measure impact.”
Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has prioritized expanding access to health care and supportive services for parents through pregnancy and the postpartum period and giving children a strong, healthy start that can lead to continued health, well-being, and positive outcomes throughout their lives.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that maternal mortality rates rose between 2019 and 2020, and that Black women are almost three times as likely as white women to die after giving birth.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health released a report Opens In A New Window in 2020 analyzing 457 deaths that occurred in Pennsylvania from 2013-2018 and were determined to be pregnancy-associated, which is defined as deaths that occurred while pregnant or within one year of the end of a pregnancy. According to the report, pregnancy-associated deaths in Pennsylvania grew by more than 20 percent within that time span, and Pennsylvania also followed national trends of higher maternal mortality among Black women and women whose births were covered through Medicaid. Extending Medicaid postpartum care is also a recommendation in the 2021 Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review ReportOpens In A New Window.
Medicaid covers 4 in 10 births nationally and about 3 in 10 in Pennsylvania. Medicaid was the primary payer in Pennsylvania in about 53 percent of pregnancy-associated deaths and nearly 60 percent of all pregnancy-associated deaths came between six weeks and one year after giving birth, largely outside of the previous 60-day limitation on coverage. By extending the length of postpartum coverage, Pennsylvania is seeking to improve the quality and outcomes of care and potentially save lives.
More information on the postpartum Medicaid extension, and DHS’ maternal-child health programs available across Pennsylvania is available online here.
To learn more and apply for Medical Assistance and other assistance programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/compass.