Town Hall Raises Awareness of Maternal Health and Medicaid Barriers

On March 11, the Philadelphia-based PA Prenatal to 3 Collaborative, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and Maternity Care Coalition of Philadelphia held a Maternal Health Town Hall.

The event featured Representative Morgan Cephas, who was joined by moderators Simone Snead, MPH, CLC, Maternal Mortality Review Community Action Team Coordinator at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Morgan Overton, MSW, Community Engagement and Policy Associate at WHAMglobal of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Simone Snead and Morgan Overton moderated discussion among a panel of community members who have given birth. The panelists shared their experiences and spoke to barriers they encountered while enrolled in Medicaid during pregnancy and throughout the pregnancy and postpartum experience. The panelists called for greater advocacy in healthcare systems to address daily instances of discrimination and implicit bias, for greater coverage and Medicaid reimbursement for doula services, and for expanded access to behavioral health providers of color.

Representative Cephas closed out the event by advocating for a more accessible and empowering maternal health system for Pennsylvanians. She noted how the COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity to rethink the U.S. maternal health system and how pre-pandemic disparities have persisted alongside disparities in access to COVID-19 supports throughout the past year. Representative Cephas called for Pennsylvania to extend pregnancy Medicaid for a full year postpartum, to increase insurance coverage, and to expand the workforce for midwives, doulas, and community health workers. Representative Cephas to promote equitable maternal health outcomes and improve the health and well-being of PA families.

A recording of the session can be viewed here. 

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