First Lady Tammy Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that NJ FamilyCare has increased reimbursement rates for perinatal, midwifery and community doula care as part of ongoing efforts to improve birth outcomes and make New Jersey the safest, most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby.
The increases are retroactively effective as of July 1, and made possible by $15 million appropriated in the most recent state budget – matched by $15 million in federal funding – and federal approvals secured by Human Services for NJ FamilyCare, which is the state’s Medicaid and CHIP program. NJ FamilyCare covers approximately 30,000 New Jersey births each year, or about 30 percent of births in the state.
Under the changes:
Reimbursement rates for physicians and midwives will match 100 percent of current Medicare rates for certain maternity-related services, up from 50 percent.
All midwives will receive the same reimbursement rate as physicians for all covered services. This includes midwifery care outside of maternity-related care, such as routine gynecological care.
Community doulas will receive $1,165 for labor support and eight perinatal visits, up from $900.
These changes are part of Human Services’ ongoing efforts to support the First Lady’s NurtureNJ effort, which aims to reduce maternal mortality in the state by 50 percent over five years and eliminate the racial disparities in birth outcomes.
“Raising the reimbursement rates for our maternal care providers is both a groundbreaking and commonsense step toward improving New Jersey’s maternal health outcomes,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “I thank Commissioner Adelman and her team at the Department of Human Services for their essential advocacy that has placed New Jersey’s reimbursement rates among the highest in the nation. Ensuring every New Jersey mother and baby has access to quality maternal health care gets us one important step closer to becoming the gold standard of maternal and infant health.”
Commissioner Adelman noted the changes stem in part from feedback and advocacy from midwives and community doulas.
“Our shared goal is making transformational change in New Jersey to support mothers and babies – especially our mothers and babies of color,” said DHS Commissioner Adelman. “These improvements further promote access to care associated with improved birth outcomes, and make sure our rates are competitive so we can retain and recruit high quality perinatal providers and community doulas. These enhancements will lead to positive outcomes for mothers and babies – and a healthier New Jersey for everyone.”
Other steps taken by Nurture NJ and the Department of Human Services to promote high-quality maternity-related care within NJ FamilyCare include:
Promoting high quality care through a statewide perinatal episode of care pilot that tests an alternative payment model for prenatal, labor, and postpartum services;
Expanding coverage for 365 days postpartum;
Covering community doula care;
Allowing all licensed midwives to participate as NJ FamilyCare providers;
Ending reimbursement for medically-unnecessary early elective deliveries; and
Requiring perinatal risk assessments during a member’s prenatal care to help identify risk factors and healthcare needs.
“Despite the global drop in maternal death rates, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in this nation has actually risen in recent decades, with people of color being at a greater risk. The Enhanced NJ FamilyCare Maternal Health Care Reimbursement initiative will ensure that maternal care providers receive the adequate financial support needed to render efficient aid,” said Senator Shirley K. Turner.
“I am proud of the progress we are making to uplift mothers and babies of color and increase access to quality maternity services,” said Assemblywoman Shanique Speight. “By prioritizing our work to improve health outcomes for women and their infants, we are ensuring more New Jerseyans can overcome persisting racial health disparities and have a healthy family.”
“Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates reiterates the Murphy Administration’s commitment to maternal and infant healthcare and making New Jersey the safest, most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby,” said Dr. Yanirys Diaz, an OB/Gyn physician at Capital Health. “It is gratifying to know our state leaders share our commitment to our most vulnerable patients.”
“Midwives in New Jersey are celebrating a huge win for pregnant people and their babies,” said Julie Blumenfeld, Director for Nurse Midwifery, Rutgers University School of Nursing Program. “For the first time in New Jersey, all services covered within NJ FamilyCare will be reimbursed at the same rate—whether provided by midwives or physicians—making the midwifery model of care, with proven positive outcomes, more accessible to all. Thanks to the efforts of Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, the goal of making New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to give birth and be born is becoming a reality.”
“Maternal Health innovation is thriving here in NJ and I’m gracious to be a part of the investment in NJ”s future. We are making NJ a safer state to give birth, raise a child, have a family,” said Tonique Griffin, Community Doula, Newark Community Health Centers.