Quick Takes

Humana supports prenatal care for Black moms with $120,000 in grants, goal is ‘health equity’

By: - February 7, 2023 1:09 pm

Maternal mortality rates are four times higher for Black birthing Kentuckians compared to their white counterparts. Our state is also a maternal care desert, where 73 out of the 120 counties do not have a practicing OB/GYN. (Getty Images)

To “improve access to quality prenatal care in Kentucky for Black moms,” Humana announced Tuesday it will give $120,000 in grants to three organizations. 

Humana’s Healthy Horizons made the move in response to a March of Dimes report last year that awarded Kentucky a failing grade on key indicators of maternal health. The commonwealth was one of only nine states and Puerto Rico to get a failing rating.  

The money will go to Melanated Healthcare ($70,000), Granny’s Birth Initiative ($30,000) and Healthy Babies Louisville ($20,000). 

Alexa Hughes, who runs Granny’s Birth Initiative, told the Kentucky Lantern the $30,000 will support the growth of her Doula Dash service, which provides transportation to maternal support resources, such as prenatal or lactation appointments. 

The grant will sponsor training of more Doula Dashers, the website technology needed to handle operations and demand of doula dash, and 250 free rides for Humana Medicaid Members,” Hughes said. “Humana Medicaid members will be able to apply a coupon code to omit the usual  $20 fee.” 

That code should be available in March, she said, adding: “We thank Humana for supporting equity birthwork.” 

Melanated Healthcare “will connect Humana members with health professionals who share the same racial or cultural background as well as provide patient support through supplemental virtual visits,” Humana said. 

Black Americans are three times more likely to die from pregnancy than their white counterparts, the Lantern previously reported. White women are more likely to have access to good prenatal care than Native, Black, Pacific Islander, Asian and Hispanic women. 

A 2020 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that when Black babies are cared for by Black medical professionals, though, they’re much more likely to survive. 

The Healthy Babies Louisville grant will allow doulas, Humana said, “a place to access continuing education, new certifications and trainings, support for billing insurance companies and networking opportunities.”

“Through healthcare coverage, and funding innovative pilots like these, Humana is in a position to help eliminate unjust, avoidable and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare to achieve health equity,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, the chief medical officer for Humana Healthy Horizons Kentucky and former leader of Louisville’s health department.  

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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky. She has covered everything from crime to higher education. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. At the Kentucky Lantern, she covers mental health, abortion, COVID-19 and more.