HOPEWELL TWP., N.J. (PIX11) — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced a combined $30 million in funding to substantially increase NJ FamilyCare’s reimbursement rates for perinatal, midwifery and community doula care.

The change is long overdue, she said. It’s the latest step in the fight against maternal mortality and racial disparities in childbirth.

“This will more than double the reimbursement for an OB/GYN, or midwife, from $300 to $861.78 for a natural delivery, matching 100 percent of what Medicare reimburses,” Murphy said.

The increases are retroactive as of July 1 of last year. The news was well-received by doctors, nurses and staff at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Hopewell Township.

“Our doctors are fabulous, but so are our midwives,” said Murphy, “and so are community doulas. It’s been proven that when you have midwives and community doulas involved that you have much better birth outcomes.”

The initiative is backed by of $15 million of the state’s appropriated budget and a match of $15 million in federal funding. 

“We’re changing lives incrementally and we’re listening,” said Murphy.

Dr. Yanirys Diaz, OB/GYN at Capital Health. explained what that meant from a health provider’s perspective.

“When we’re talking about providing quality care, an equitable and fair playing field to our patients, I’m referring to the care we provide for mi hermana, mi hijas, nuestras mujeres: all of our women,” Dr. Diaz said.