Two black female friends with stroller, walking and chatting.

Take Action for Birthing Families

Congress will soon decide on a social infrastructure legislative package that could be transformative for birthing families, including critical Momnibus investments and establishing the first national paid family & medical leave insurance program!

Black Maternal Health

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 builds on existing maternal health legislation, like policies to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage, with 12 bills to comprehensively address every dimension of America’s maternal health crisis. 

Last month, crucial investments in Black maternal health from the Momnibus were included in the Build Back Better Act. HealthConnect One is thrilled to see maternal health equity prioritized in this package, however there is still work to do until these provisions, in their entirety, are passed.

As outlined in a report from the Century Foundation, these four investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, out of many, will improve Black Maternal health should lawmakers pass the Build Back Better Act.

  • Build Back Better could save mothers’ lives by providing funding for postpartum Medicaid to a total of 1,170,000 uninsured new mothers over ten years
  • 92,000 nurses and perinatal nursing students would receive funding for loans, scholarships, and programmatic support over ten years.
  • 30,000 doulas would receive funding for loans, scholarships, and programmatic support over ten years.
  • 46,000 maternal mental health and substance abuse professionals would receive loans, scholarships, and programmatic support, over ten years.

It is imperative that congress prioritizes these maternal health investments that mothers, babies, and birthing families desperately need. 

Tweet at your legislators and tell them the importance of these investment! – Click Here

  • It’s time for congress to pass ALL #Momnibus provisions in the #BuildBackBetter act. These investments will address system-level failures by providing policy solutions that will allow Black birthing people and their babies to thrive.
  • Community-based organizations like @HealthConnctOne and its partners are at the frontlines of the maternal health crisis by ensuring birthing families have the culturally-reflective support they need to have a positive birth experience. (1/2)
    The #Momnibus enables these organizations to directly serve the multifaceted needs of pregnant and postpartum people in their community. (2/2) 
  • Racial justice requires investments in maternal health. To rectify centuries of disenfranchisement, we need to continue demanding justice for moms and ensure that ALL of the #Momnibus provisions are prioritized in the Build Back Better legislative package. 
  • The evidence is clear — doula care is associated with positive outcomes for birthing families. Funding from the #BuildBackBetter act would provide increased access to doula services for Black families, for whom doula care is often out of reach.
  • The #Momnibus provisions in the #BuildBackBetter package will ensure that Black birthing people can experience joyful pregnancy and birth.
  • Black birthing people need the Biden adminsitration and leaders in congress to go bold and pass the #BuildBackBetter Act with ALL investments from the #Momnibus and the permanent extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months.

Follow @HealthConnectOne on Twitter and be sure to tag us in your posts!

We won’t stop working until all provisions are passed. It’s time to build on this momentum and continue working to eliminate maternal health disparities by passing the Build Back Better Act with all maternal health provisions included.

Paid Family Leave

In one of the most industrialized nations in the world, only 15 percent of all working people in the have access to paid leave through their employers. The Build Back Better Act social infrastructure package could change that. 

Sick family members, a new baby or child placement, an aging parent, are planned and sometimes sudden occurrences for everyday people across America. Working families deserve to know they do not have to sacrifice financial income or job security.  The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee paid leave of any kind. It’s time for our legislators to create a safety net that will allow working people to remain active parts of their families and the economy at the same time. 

Our leaders are negotiating the details and they need to hear your voice about what families need.

The paid leave plan in the Build Back Better package will:

  • Ensure the benefit is available to all of America’s families;
  • Provide paid time off (ideally 12 weeks);
  • Provide robust wage replacement; and
  • Cover the whole range of babies’ and families’ needs for time off.

Become an advocate and keep the pressure on our leaders to make sure the new paid leave program provision in the Build Back Better Act would reach all babies and families! call on Congress to finally pass paid leave for all working families. 

Take Action Today – Click Here

Contact Congress via a phone call or email and ask them to support the bill and it’s full recommendations.
(via Think Babies)

Use the script below:

  • Hello, my name is (xxx) and I am your constituent living in (state your city/town).
  • I’m calling today to urge your support the Build Back Better Act which will establishes a paid family and medical leave program that will meet the needs of working families across America
  • This paid family and medical leave program will give families the opportunity to stay connected with their family and remain in the work economy. Paid leave gives families the time they need to bond with and care for their infants and care for loved ones without sacrificing their financial security. 
  • This issue is of particular importance to me because (briefly describe why this is important to you).
  • Thank you for your time and for your leadership in supporting working families across America. 

It’s important that our elected officials hear from you about the life-saving relief that a comprehensive paid leave program can have on maternal and child health outcomes and overall well being of families.  

Our country cannot afford to wait to address the challenges facing Black and Brown birthing people, and failing to invest in these issues risks not only incurring painful economic and social costs, but lives across America.

Background contains a side image of the U.S. Capitol, with a Green Overlay with Text saying: "Dear Congress, we need permanent maternal health aid"

Congress, We Need Permanent Maternal Health Aid

Our country’s maternal health crisis is an active policy choice – one that enables entirely preventable deaths of our nation’s mamas, birthing people, and infants. Lawmakers need to include measures tackling maternal health disparities in the upcoming reconciliation package. Earlier this week, HealthConnect One joined 200+ groups and organizations pressing congress to make maternal health aid permanent in a letter to congressional leaders.

The letter provides specific recommendations that will ensure coverage for biting people, build out maternal health services that center racial equity, and result in investment in community-based efforts. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Congress should close the Medicaid coverage gap, guaranteeing people in all states have access to affordable coverage and to the full range of health care benefits, including necessary and preventive health care services. Closing the coverage gap is critical not only for better maternal health but also to achieve broader health equity.
  • Congress should advance the policies included in the Momnibus, making needed investments in maternal care. The provisions address deep inequities for pregnant people of color; specifically their access to mental health services, a culturally competent perinatal workforce, and prevention services.
  • Congress should prioritize investments that direct much-needed resources to community-based partners that are working on the front lines to address the racial inequities of maternal health through culturally congruent, place-based caregiving.

Community-led efforts in collaboration with adequate funding and appropriate legislation will reverse the rates of maternal and infant mortality for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Alongside other organizations, we urge Congress to include these critical provisions in the next legislative package, a move that will advance reproductive justice and improve health equity for birthing families across America..

Doulas and Postpartum Home Visits May be Covered Under Medicaid in New Illinois Proposal

On Friday, the Illinois legislature will start discussing a new bill that would allow doulas to be covered under Medicaid. The bill It would cover weekly prenatal doula services, labor and delivery and doula services up to a year after birth.

Dr. Twylla Dillon, HealthConnect, One Executive Director, released the following statement in support of this critical legislation:

“In this critical pandemic moment, long-standing health inequities in birth experiences in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities put women, birthing people, and babies center stage. If enacted, the Medicaid coverage of doula care legislation in the IllInois legislature will be a down payment on the state’s efforts to end preventable maternal death and eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. The bill is an important and necessary step towards this goal.”

If you are in IllInois, you can add support to this legislation by calling your legislator. 

You can find your legislator at this link

Or you can call the State of Illinois at 217-782-2000 or 312-814-3500 to get the number for your IllInois state representative.

When you call:

  1. Let them know you are a constituent.
  2. Say that you are calling to ask your representative to support the bill for doula coverage under Medicaid.

HC One Supports Postpartum Medicaid Extension in House COVID Bill

Chicago – Last night the House Energy and Commerce Committee released the legislative text for its COVID-19 relief legislation, which includes a provision to support state efforts to extend Medicaid coverage in the postpartum period. 

Dr. Twylla Dillon, HealthConnect One Executive Director, released the following statement in support of this critical provision to the Energy and Commerce Committee Covid-19 Relief Legislation:

“In this critical pandemic moment, long-standing health inequities in birth experiences in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities put women, birthing people, and babies center stage. These inequities do not only present a public health issue for our communities. Instead, they and other health inequities are alerting us to the inevitable challenges to control COVID-19. We must address inequities in birth, COVID-19, and other health issues. 

“State maternal mortality review committees across the country have identified Medicaid extension in the postpartum period as a foundational policy for addressing our nation’s maternal mortality crisis. If enacted, the postpartum Medicaid extension provision in the COVID-19 relief legislation will be a significant down payment on Congress’ continued efforts to end preventable maternal death and eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. The postpartum Medicaid policy included in the COVID-19 bill is an important and necessary step towards this goal.” 

The postpartum Medicaid extension provision included in the E&C bill would:

  • Provide an option for states to extend Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum, which will streamline state efforts to achieve this policy. We’ll need to continue to advocate for this policy to be mandatory for states with sufficient federal matching funds;
  • Require full Medicaid benefits 
  • Apply to all postpartum individuals with Medicaid coverage regardless of eligibility pathway;
  • Apply to all postpartum individuals with Medicaid coverage regardless of health condition Apply to all postpartum individuals with CHIP coverage in those states that extend coverage to pregnant individuals under CHIP;
  • Not include additional federal matching funds. A significant FMAP bump is something we’ll need to continue to advocate for.
  • Sunset after 5 years. We’ll need to continue to advocate for a permanent policy for Medicaid extension to 12 months postpartum.

HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting. HealthConnect One is committed to collaborating with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to ensure safe and healthy pregnancies and births, thriving babies and families, and successful early parenting and nutrition.

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Kristian Ramos

Autonomy Strategies

Historic legislation introduced on Black Maternal Health

On Monday, February 8, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Congresswoman Alma Adams, Senator Cory Booker, and the Black Maternal Health Caucus introduced historic legislation to address the maternal health crisis for Black women and birthing people of color.

Call your member of Congress today! Let them know you want them to support birthing families.

When you call your member of Congress, the staff keeps track of the issues people are concerned about to help your member of Congress decide where to focus. When you call, you help your member of Congress by letting them know about important issues and legislation that will make a difference in your community.

Your call makes a difference!

Call your member of Congress today and tell them you need them to support birth justice – the most fundamental of racial justice issues – by supporting the Momnibus.

Here’s how:

Call the Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the office of your member of Congress.

When calling, say that you are a constituent and you want your member of Congress to support the Momnibus.

Here are some talking points:

– Black moms in the US are 3 to 4 times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications

– The Momnibus includes 12 bills to address the drivers of this crisis and #SaveMoms

– Black moms, women of color, & birthing people in the U.S. should not lose their lives bringing life into the world

– The Momnibus is a historic step forward towards achieving maternal health justice

– We must invest in solutions to save Black moms, women of color, & birthing people in the U.S.

The Momnibus will also support the birth worker community by:

Investing in community-based organizations and diversifying and growing the birth worker community.

Your voice is so important- join us in letting members of Congress know that we need them – now more than ever – to support birthing people, mothers, babies, and families.

With thanks from the HealthConnect One team!

President Biden Now Is the Time To Invest In The Health Care of All Mothers

PRESS CONTACT: Kristian Ramos,Kristian@autonomy-strategies.com

Chicago – To commemorate the inauguration of President Joe Biden, HealthConnect One Executive Director Dr. Twylla Dillion released the following statement: 

“Our nation is not perfect; it is “unfinished,” as Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman beautifully described in her poem, stating that “catastrophe cannot prevail over us.” The centering of youth in today’s inauguration helped drive home the hope of America. I am joyful at the prospect that this centering will remain during this President Biden’s term and beyond if we are to see the changes necessary for birth equity.

President Joe Biden has pledged to build our country back better than before, to heal the bitter divides that have rocked our country over the past four years. To achieve both of these goals, the President must invest in building stronger communities by investing in mothers. 

To see Vice President Kamala Harris sworn in had a personal resonance with me as a child of Jamaican immigrants raised by a single mother. To see her enter this role as the first Black, Asian, and woman VP is incredibly inspirational and crucial for our nation’s healing. As HealthConnect One’s  leader, I am hopeful that the Momnibus Act that she sponsored as a senator passes in this new administration.

HealthConnect One is working to rebuild community health by partnering and collaborating with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that experience the greatest inequity in the current health care system to create a stronger country. 

As our country grapples with pandemic-related challenges and the movement toward racial and social justice, the time is now to support and advance outcomes that build healthy communities.  

Together, we can rebuild a system that supports healthy communities today and for future generations.  Through advocacy, coaching, training, technical assistance, and program development services, we are improving maternal-child health outcomes and rebuilding healthy communities. We look forward to working with President Biden and his administration on the critical work ahead.” 

HealthConnect One is the national leader in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting. HealthConnect One is committed to collaborating with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities to ensure safe and healthy pregnancies and births, thriving babies and families, and successful early parenting and nutrition.

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5 Voting Resources To Flex Your Voting Power

Dear friends, 

Elections are underway across the nation. The results of the elections will have a long-reaching impact on our nation’s healthcare systems and on the health of Black, Brown, and Indigenous families. 

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT-> Find out here where the Presidential candidates stand on the healthcare policies that impact maternal health and the welfare of birthing families. 

FIND YOUR POLLING LOCATION> Find answers to questions about your state here- such as polling locations, in-person registration, and other local questions.

VOTER ID-> Two-thirds of states expect you to provide identification to let you vote at the polls. Find out about your state’s voter ID laws here.

FIRST TIME VOTER? -> This video can help you prepare to vote, and here’s a handy checklist with everything you need to cast your vote. 

WHATS ON THE BALLOT? -> In addition to the Presidential candidates, there are various candidates and issues on the ballot that will impact how decisions are made for our birthing families. Find out more here.


Thank you for lending your voice and advocacy in support of birthing families!

 
The HealthConnect One Team 

Cast your vote! Moms, babies, and families are counting on you

Dear friends, 

We are just weeks away from Election Day! Do you have a plan to vote? Did you know that research shows that people who make a plan to vote are more likely to?

Here’s how you can make a plan to vote and to get you and your family poll ready! 

Start by making sure you are registered to vote. 

  1. Do you need to register to vote? Each state makes its own voting and election rules. Find answers to questions about your state here- such as polling locations, in-person registration, and other local questions!
  2. Are you a first-time voter? This video can help you to prepare to vote and here’s a handy checklist with everything you need to cast your vote. 
  3. Did you know speaking to your family and friends makes them more likely to vote? Check in with your loved ones to make sure they have all the information they need to vote!

Between now and November 3, you will not only be voting to elect a President, but you can also cast a  ballot to support various candidates and issues that will impact how decisions are made for our birthing families.

Thank you for lending your voice and advocacy in support of birthing families!

The HealthConnect One Team 

First time voting video

Your Vote Matters To Birthing Families

Dear friends,

This year has been a challenging experience for us all, as fear of COVID-19 infection, homeschooling, social isolation and economic upheaval changed our lives.

On November 3, we have an opportunity to decide who will lead our nation as we navigate a pandemic. It’s not just a presidential election, there are various candidates and issues on the ballot in November that will impact how decisions are made for our birthing families.

Here’s how you can take action! 

1. Start by making sure you are registered to vote.

2. If you are not yet registered, there is still time! Register online before October 18.

3. You can vote by mail by October 15. You can find out what options are available for voting in your state.

4. Are you a first time voter? Here’s a handy checklist with everything you need to cast your vote.

5. Speak to your family and friends to make sure they have all the information they need to make their voice heard at the ballot!

Your voice and your vote matter! Thank you for lending your voice and advocacy in support of birthing families!

The HealthConnect One Team

New Issue Brief: Maternal Health In Puerto Rico During COVID-19

Perhaps the biggest structural challenge posed by COVID-19 is the strain that the pandemic is placing on healthcare systems.

The human costs, however, are much more significant – recent data has shown that Black, Indigenous, Black Latinx and Latinx (BIPOC) populations and poorer people have higher rates of infection and are more likely to die from COVID-19.

For birthing families in Puerto Rico this could mean less attention in an already over-burdened system, a heightened susceptibility to exposure and infection, and an increase in adverse maternal health outcomes. Any public health response to COVID-19 must include a focus on birth equity work and center the needs of birthing families that are facing the greatest hardship during this pandemic.

Key components of this brief include:

  • Disparities in outcomes pre Covid-19
  • Birthing during a pandemic
  • Recommendations

For more information on this topic, please send questions or comments to Khadija Gurnah, Director of Policy and Advocacy at info@healthconnectone.org.

More: We also partnered with Alimentación Segura Infantil (ASI) in Puerto Rico (PR) to present related webinars in English and Spanish. You can view the webinars here. 

Download Maternal Health in Puerto Rico During COVID-19

Please complete the form above to download our new report. Downloadable versions are available in English and Spanish. 

Image credit: Karla Rosas / IG: @karlinche_