Family Health Center CEO “disappointed” Mississippi declined to extend Medicaid benefits for postpartum mothers

Family Health Center CEO “disappointed” Mississippi declined to extend Medicaid benefits for postpartum mothers

FHC’s Shelly Roark (left) and Dr. Rashad N. Ali (right) joined Courtney Darby, a patient who talked with Mississippi Today about her need for longer postpartum care. (Photo: Lee Eric Smith)

Dr. Rashad N. Ali


FHC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rashad N. Ali expressed his disappointment that the Mississippi State Legislature voted down a measure that would extend Medicaid benefits to postpartum mothers for up to 12 months.

“As a provider for so many women who will be affected by this development, I’m disappointed that the House chose not to advance this measure,” said Ali, also a prominent OB/GYN physician and surgeon. “It’s not at all uncommon for a woman to have health issues weeks or months after they’ve delivered. And if they don’t have money to get treated, what are they supposed to do?”

“On occasion, we find people who had problems in the pregnancy, but after the pregnancy is over, two months later that problem hasn’t gone away, but now they don’t have money or insurance,” Ali continued. “They can come to Family Health Center and get on our sliding scale. But what if they didn’t come here? What if they can’t get to a community health center? They’d be in big trouble.”

The vote came shortly after Mississippi Today spoke with Dr. Ali, Shelly Roark (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner) and Courtney Darby, a patient who agreed to speak with the news outlet about her experience as a mother, and what she expects for her newborn son:

Just over 39,000 Mississippians are currently covered by Medicaid because they are pregnant or postpartum, according to the state Division of Medicaid. When the emergency declaration ends, communications officer Matt Westerfield said, states will begin reviewing current beneficiaries on a rolling basis.

People like Darby, who gave birth more than 60 days ago, will lose coverage unless they qualify in another category, such as disability. And people who give birth after the declaration ends are likely to get no more than 60 days of coverage postpartum.

After Senate Bill 2033 failed, Darby was stunned.

“I don’t understand it,” she said. “I mean, it’s just mind blowing that you know — it’s like, have some compassion. Have some heart. At least try to show that you care.”

You can read the full story here.