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_

Irving Harris Advocacy Award: U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

“The disparity in maternal health is] a crisis that has demanded action for decades and is now getting the attention it deserves,” –U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14)  quoted by the Wilson Center

 

The Irving Harris Legacy Award is given to individuals and organizations making an impact on maternal health and birth equity. Though our organization serves communities across the U.S., we did not have to look far from our Chicago home base to find a leader who well deserves this recognition.

This year, Congresswoman Underwood, D- Ill, led 62 members of the House of Representatives in a bipartisan letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the U.S. is taking steps to understand the unique risks and complications of COVID-19 in pregnant women.

In March, alongside Senator Kamala Harris, D-Cal, and her Black Maternal Health Caucus co-chair Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-NC, Underwood helped introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020. The Act will fill gaps in existing legislation to comprehensively address every dimension of the black maternal health crisis in the nation.

The Black Maternal Health Caucus is one of the largest bipartisan caucuses in Congress, with more than 100 members. It is organized around the goals of elevating the Black maternal health crisis within Congress and advancing policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities.

“It’s both alarming and unacceptable that maternal mortality rates continue to rise in the United States, and the situation is even worse for Black women, who are three to four times more likely to die. This issue affects too many women and families and will take a comprehensive approach to end disparities,” said Congresswoman Underwood.

“I would like to thank HealthConnect One for honoring me with the Irving Harris Legacy Award, a humbling reminder of the critical urgency of the work address of us to address our nation’s maternal health crisis,” Rep. Underwood shared. “I am grateful for HealthConnect One’s partnership with the Black Maternal Health Caucus that I co-chair, working with us to advance the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and other policies to improve outcomes and save lives.”

HealthConnect One is grateful to Congresswoman Underwood, a true champion, for her leadership in improving the lives of moms, birthing families, and babies.

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day 2 promo of EBOB event to intro CHW AwardEvery Baby Our Baby 2020

We’re also grateful to sponsors of our virtual Every Baby Our Baby this year: Gold sponsors the Irving Harris Foundation and Perigee Fund; Silver sponsor, Navistar, and Copper sponsors, Mairita Smiltars, Gordon Mayer Communications, and Graceful Fusion Birth Doula Trainings.

Our work to support and train community-based doulas, peer counselors and other community health workers continues. We appreciate you for being here. If you are able to support this work at any level, you can contribute here.

Thank you! Support our work

 

BLM Banner

Message of Support for Black Communities Against Racism

 

HealthConnect One stands in solidarity with Black people against racism in all its forms.

We are angry and saddened by the continuing injustices that Black people experience, all of which affect our public health. We will continue to work alongside Black communities, families, and advocates to fight racism and to uplift their health and well-being, now and in the future. – Jeretha McKinley, HC One Interim E.D.

We want to also provide Black moms and their families resources to other organizations providing support to the Black community during this difficult time:

Resource List

Where to donate to help George Floyd’s family

Official GoFund Me Page for George Floyd

George Floyd Protest Donations List

Mental health resources for the Black community

Therapy for Black Girls

Sista Afya Community Wellness

Loveland Foundations

Crisis Text Line

8 Mental Health Resources

Boris Henson Foundation

Organizations to support and donate to:

Black Lives Matter

NAACP

Community Bail funds

Chicago Community Bail Fund

Directory of community bail funds

Support for small businesses

Small business relief fund for businesses – Chicago

Volunteer Opportunity – Rebuilding Southside businesses

Support for small businesses on South and West sides of Chicago

Anti – racism booklist for children / adults

Books to learn about anti-racism

Anti-racism for kids 101

Free meals for children in Chicago list

Chicago Food Bank

List of food pantries

Food program on South and West side of Chicago

We will be updating this page as new resources become available. If you have additional resources local or national supporting Black communities please email dpando@healthconnectone.org

 

Call your Senator today: Tell them to say YES to funding for home visiting

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill that would provide $3 trillion to help and support our families, communities, and businesses in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a very important provision for home visiting: an additional $100 million in emergency funding that can be used for the care of birthing families, such as through community-based doula care.

Call your Senators today and let them know you want them to vote YES on the COVID-19 relief bill!

A phone call from you is one of the best ways to let your Senators know what their constituents are feeling about issues, and right now we have an important opportunity to make sure that doula care receives the funding it needs!

You can call today by following the steps below!

You can find the phone number for your Senators at this link: www.senate.gov.

You can also call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask them to connect you to the office of your Senator:

When you call:

1. Let them know you are a constituent.

2. Say that you are calling to ask your Senator to protect and support birthing families as part of their COVID-19 response

3. Let them know that you would like them to vote YES on the COVID-19 bill that will provide $100 million in additional funds for home visiting, which will include the following activities:

  • Training home visitors on virtual home visits and emergency preparedness and response planning for families
  • Providing technology to families to facilitate home visits
  • Providing emergency supplies to families, such as diapers, formula, non-perishable food, water, hand soap, and hand sanitizer
  • Providing prepaid debit cards to families to help them meet emergency needs

4. Thank them for their time and support of our families and communities

When you call your Senator’s office – we would love to know how the call went. Email us and update us on how it went at: info@healthconnectone.org

Thank you for your support and advocacy of birthing families!

The HealthConnect One team