Doula support of individuals and families before, during and after childbirth is gaining traction in Massachusetts as one way to address racial inequities in pregnancy care and maternal/child outcomes in the state. 

MassHealth is looking to expand pregnancy care coverage to include doula services, which are an out-of-pocket expense for most consumers. And while Massachusetts doulas have mostly operated independently or in small practices, the state’s Health Policy Commission is helping finance the integration of doula services into pregnancy and birthing care at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and Boston Medical Center to improve outcomes for Black birthing people. Another hospital system, Steward Health Care, has recent experience offering doula services for its MassHealth accountable care organization members and shares some early learnings.

A new report from the Betsy Lehman Center captures the perspectives of doulas and consumers on the growing interest in leveraging doula support services to improve pregnancy and birthing care in the state, particularly in communities of color. "Expanding doula support services in Massachusetts: Considerations for successful implementation" confirms that Massachusetts has a foundational group of experienced, dedicated doulas on which to build a more robust network of community-based practitioners and concludes that the success of any effort to expand access to doula support services hinges on a concerted effort to explicitly address racism and discrimination in birthing care.

Patient Safety Beat talks with Wellforce’s new Chief Quality Officer about prioritizing clinicians’ time on patient care, teaching future safety leaders, managing through the pandemic, and more.

"I try to help clinicians focus on safety by reframing the story around the patient and encouraging them to tap into why they went into health care in the first place." — Dr. Erickson 

Upcoming events
January 14
12 – 1 p.m.
DxQI Seed Grant. Informational webinar about grants offered by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine for 12-month diagnostic quality and safety improvement projects. Proposals are due March 2022. Register here.
January 14, 24
February 11
12 – 1:30 p.m.
Communication skills training for COVID-19 vaccination. Webinar to improve the counseling skills of clinicians discussing COVID-19 vaccination with pregnant and postpartum people, parents and caregivers of young children, and families. Jointly offered by Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Network of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, and the Center for Integrated Primary Care at UMass Chan Medical School. Register here.
January 25
10 – 11 a.m.
Infection control in assisted living. Webinar about using PPE to prevent disease transmission, engaging staff in PPE education and training, and preparing for "Pandemic 2.0." Offered by Massachusetts Assisted Living Association.
Patient Safety Beat is published by the Betsy Lehman Center, a Massachusetts state agency that supports providers, patients and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.