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Evers unveils women and child health initiative

MADISON (WKOW) — Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday that his budget would include $28 million dollars for programs aimed at improving women and child health care.

The initiative, called “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies,” will provide cancer screenings, health exams, and STI testing, supporting healthier pregnancies and births, and addressing racial disparities in maternal and child health, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“We can’t have healthy communities without healthy women and babies,” Evers said. “That is why my budget will connect the dots and increase access and coverage, as well as create innovative programs to ensure quality health care for women, and healthy beginnings for our children.”

The plan also will increase funding to Planned Parenthood clinics by increasing Women’s Health Block Grants. The grants are funded by both the state and federal governments, according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health.

State money would also be given to local efforts to reduce infant mortality. The release said the program would “remove barriers to healthy pregnancies like unstable housing, lack of nutritional and family supports, and unemployment.”

However, the release did not give any examples of particular local efforts or say how local initiatives would be chosen to receive state funding.

The Department of Children and Families would get additional money for its Family Foundations Home Visiting Program, which targets mothers “at a high risk for a poor birth outcome,” the release said. The increased funding would go to the minority health grant and doula training and services to “address racial disparities in maternal and child services.”

“A doula is a woman who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor and provides guidance and support to the mother of a newborn baby,” the release said.

“The governor will also seek a waiver in the CHIP program to increase post-partum coverage for women up to a year,” the release said. “Currently, Medicaid covers pregnant women for 60 days after the birth of their child. Having a longer period of uninterrupted health coverage contributes to the health of both the mother and child and provides adequate time to find private insurance that meets their needs and budget.”

WQOW Staff

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