State Senators Peggy Lehner (R–Kettering) and Shannon Jones (R–Springboro) today introduced Senate Bill 9, which will establish a high quality database for tracking home visiting services aimed at reducing infant mortality and negative birth outcomes. The legislation will provide evidence-based services that reduce negative birth outcomes for pregnant women, new mothers, and women who may become pregnant that are Medicaid enrollees.
“Sadly, Ohio ranks 46th nationally in overall infant mortality and is dead last among African American babies,” said Jones. “It is critical that Ohio supports services with evidence-based results that reduce many of the leading risk factors associated with infant death.”
This legislation will enable the Department of Medicaid to reimburse community health workers who are providing services through evidence-based programs that are improving birth outcomes in targeted, high-risk populations. Qualifying services must be recommended by a medical professional. Additionally, Medicaid will cover maternal depression screening as well as cognitive behavioral therapy offered through home visiting services.
“This legislation provides preventative care utilizing a more effective and lower cost provider,” added Jones. “Roughly half of all births in the state are covered by Medicaid. Healthy, full-term babies cost the system approximately $5,000 per delivery while pre-term births cost on average $50,000 per delivery. This doesn’t even include the additional costs associated with a preterm birth, such as long term health care interventions and additional special education services. Enabling Medicaid to reimburse community health workers for their preventative services will result in Medicaid participants developing healthy habits and ultimately improve birth outcomes.”

Senate Bill 9 will be referred to a Senate committee to begin immediate hearings. 

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