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New York Champions for Child Health Care: Gov. Hochul, BP Reynoso, Sen. Brouk and Assemblywoman Solages Take on Infant and Maternal Mortality Crisis

As Governor Hochul signs maternal health legislation, looking on Left to right: Chanel Porchia-Albert, CEO and Executive Director of the Ancient Song Doula Services in Bedford Stuyvesant; Shannon Johns, Founder and CEO Calming Nature Doula Service of Erie County; and legislation champions Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages and Senator Samra Brouk; (unidentified) maternal care advocate and Brooklyn Borough President Anthony Reynoso. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor)

Tuesday, Hochul announced New York’s latest effort to combat the maternal and infant mortality rates, as infant mortality rose nationwide for the first time in decades. Legislation S.1867A/A.5435A directs the New York State Department of Health to create and maintain a New York State Community Doula Directory. (Doulas are birthing experts who provide physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and after the child-birthing experience.)

The Governor also announced that doula services will be covered for all Medicaid enrollees starting on January 1, 2024. The governor also highlighted $4.5 million in annual funding for Regional Perinatal Centers secured in the FY23 budget, which has been allocated by the New York State Department of Health—more in upcoming issues.

The Governor said, “No baby should have to die unnecessarily. We still have more work to do to expand high-quality health care. So, I’m here to talk about some of the latest updates on our work to take on the maternal and infant mortality crisis. Perinatal care has many different elements and different stages. And some of the people who are out there through every phase of it are the doulas.”