Extension of Postpartum Services 1115 Demonstration Waiver

Created in 1999 by the General Assembly, DCH is one of four primary health agencies in Georgia. It is the State’s primary agency for the deployment of Medicaid services. The Department’s mission is to provide Georgians with access to accessible, affordable, and high-quality healthcare.

Currently, Georgia’s Right from the Start Medical Assistance Group (RSM) enables children and adults under age 19, pregnant women, low income families, and women with breast or cervical cancer to receive comprehensive health services through Medicaid and related programs. The State currently administers RSM throughout a woman’s pregnancy and through a 60-day postpartum period. In 2010, the State and DCH instituted the Planning for Healthy Babies (P4HB) program to supplement coverage for women through a Section 1115 Waiver. P4HB provides no-cost services to eligible women that include Family Planning Services, Interpregnancy Care (IPC), and Resource Mother Outreach for mothers who delivered very low birth weight (VLBW) babies.

The Public Notice & Comment Period began on October 8, 2020 and will close on November 9, 2020, lasting 30 days.

The comparatively high rate of maternal mortality continues to be a pressing challenge for the State to ameliorate. This led the Georgia General Assembly (GGA) to pass H.R. 589 during the 2019 legislative session to create the House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality. The Committee set out to identify causes and potential solutions to the State’s comparatively high maternal mortality rates. The Committee subsequently developed a final report based on a review of maternal death data from 2012-2015. Their findings showed that 60% of maternal deaths within the sample period were deemed preventable.

The State recognizes that maternal deaths are a serious public health concern with considerable short- and long-term individual, family, and societal impacts. Moreover, the State recognizes that in order to ultimately decrease maternal mortality in Georgia, intra-state coordination and collaboration is critical from the beginning. Accordingly, the GGA worked in consultation with DCH and Georgia’s Department of Public Health (DPH) to craft and advocate for the passage of H.B. 1114 during the 2020 legislative session. Governor Brian P. Kemp subsequently signed the bill into law. There are two primary provisions of the legislation:

  • The first provision authorizes the extension of Medicaid coverage for lactation services to pregnant and lactating women and their children. This provision will be implemented through the submission of a State Plan Amendment.
  • The second provision, which is the focus of this Demonstration Waiver, authorizes the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage from a period of 60 days to one hundred and eighty (180) days or six months. Through the extended duration of benefits during the postpartum period, the goal of the legislation is to provide continuity of care that will ultimately reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.

Public Hearings

The State will hold two public hearing on the dates listed below:

Public Hearing 1: Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. EST via WebEx Audio. Log in information is as follows:

  1. Click the following link, or copy to a browser:
    https://dchevents.webex.com/dchevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb1f15c274a1077f7db5bf0f92172dcd0
    1. Event number: 127 018 2352
      Event password: Public
  2. Click "Join Now".
  3. To Join the audio conference only:
    1. Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-479-3207 Access code: 127 018 2352

Public Hearing 2: Monday, October 19, 2020 at 10:00a.m. EST, at the following location (in-person):

Mercer School of Medicine-Savannah Campus

Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research

1250 East 66th Street, Savannah, GA 31404

Written Comments

In addition to making public comments at the public hearings, individuals may submit written comment by email at postpartum.comments@dch.ga.gov or by mail at the following address:

Attn: Lynnette Rhodes

Georgia Department of Community Health

2 Peachtree Street, NW, 36th Floor

Atlanta, GA 30303