​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Doula Services as a Medi-Cal Benefit

​The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is adding doula services to the list​​​​​​​​ of preventive services covered under the Medi-Cal program. Doula services include personal support to women and families throughout a woman's pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experience. This includes emotional and physical support, provided during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Pur​su​ant to federal regulations, doula services must be recommended by a physician or other licensed practitioner. 

DHCS will add doula services as a covered benefit starting January 1, 2023. I​n order to add these services, DHCS submitted State Plan Amendment (SPA) 22-0002 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for federal approval. Federal law allows DHCS to add "Preventive Services" to the Medi-Cal State Plan, and DHC intends to amend the State Plan to add doula services under this authority, as recommended by CMS. 

In order to allow for the successful implementation of the doula benefit, DHCS adjusted the launch date from July 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023. This change is needed to allow DHCS to continue working with stakeholders to further define and develop the benefit, implement needed changes to the Provider Application and Verification for Enrollment (PAVE) system to allow doulas to enroll as Medi-Cal providers, seek and obtain federal approval, and give Medi-Cal managed care plans additional time to plan for and implement the benefit. The new effective date will also allow for a more robust stakeholder engagement process to assist DHCS with implementation.

In preparation for implementing the doula services benefit, DHCS is seeking input from stakeholders through virtual meetings and written comments. The next regular stakeholder meeting will be held via Zoom/telephone from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, November 21, 2​022.​

Stakeholders may send written comments via email to DoulaBenefit@dhcs.ca.gov

DHCS will also engage with stakeholders to make recommendations on outreach efforts to notify Medi-Cal beneficiaries about doula services, among other topics. 

Doula services will be available in fee-for-service Medi-Cal and through Medi-Cal managed care plans. Beneficiaries in a Medi-Cal managed care plan will receive doula services from their plan. 

Stakeholder Meetings

​​Future Stakeholder Meetings*

*meetings are subject to change ​​


Contact Us

For questions regarding the doula services benefit, please contact DoulaBenefit@dhcs.ca.gov.

Last modified date: 11/17/2022 4:23 PM