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KHN senior correspondent Angela Hart discussed California’s contract with Civica to make lower-cost insulin on KQED’s “Forum” on March 23. She also discussed California’s potential plan to use Medicaid funding to cover up to six months of rent for low-income enrollees on KCBS’ “State of California” on March 22.
KHN South Carolina correspondent Lauren Sausser discussed prior authorization on WNHN’s “The Attitude With Arnie Arnesen” on March 21.
KHN Montana legislative fellow Keely Larson discussed Montana’s vaccine exemption legislation on the Montana Free Press’ “The Session” on March 20.
KHN Midwest correspondent Bram Sable-Smith discussed insulin costs on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” on March 18.
Andrew Johnson lets his clients choose what music to play in the car.
As an employee of Family Outreach in Helena, Montana — an organization that assists developmentally disabled people — part of his workday involves driving around, picking up clients, and taking them to work or to run errands.
“What’s up, gangsta?” Johnson said as a client got in the car one day in March.
The pair fist-bumped and Johnson asked what type of music the client liked.
“Gangsta stuff,” came the response. Rap, mainly.
Snoop Dogg played in the background as Johnson and his client drove to McDonald’s, where Johnson helps his client work. The duo washed dishes for two hours in the back of the fast-food restaurant, where it smelled like maple syrup and sulfur.
About two weeks earlier, Johnson testified at a hearing at the Montana Capitol in support of a bill that seeks to raise health providers’ Medicaid reimbursement rates to levels aligned with the average cost of the care they provide. The bill is informed by a 2022 study that recommended benchmark rates after its authors found that Montana Medicaid providers like Family Outreach were being significantly underpaid.
“The provider rates need to be funded so people that work in this field or that work in adjacent fields can have solid ground, a place where you can build a career,” said Johnson, who makes $16.24 per hour in his position as an individual living specialist.
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte and legislators agree that Medicaid rates need to rise; where they disagree is by how much. The proposals range from the bill Johnson testified for — Democratic Rep. Mary Caferro’s bill to raise rates to the study’s benchmarks — to Gianforte’s plan to fund 91% of that benchmark in 2024 and 86% in 2025.
Meanwhile, the Republicans leading the House Appropriations Committee, a key budget panel, are proposing an average increase of 92% for fiscal year 2024 and 97% in 2025.
Providers and leaders who work in behavioral health, developmental disability, long-term care, and family support services have attended the multiple hearings on rate adjustments, saying thanks for the proposed increases but asking for more. Many providers said the benchmark rates in the study are already outdated.
Providers across the United States say they haven’t seen significant reimbursement increases in more than a decade, according to Shawn Coughlin, president of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare. Behavioral health can be an afterthought for policymakers, resulting in lower rates than for medical or surgical reimbursement, he said
Michael Barnett, associate professor of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the supply of staff is inadequate to meet demand for behavioral health care across the U.S.
“And it’s not clear we’re going to meet any of that without paying people more,” Barnett said.
Some health providers have raised wages but still struggled to draw workers and keep the ones they’ve got. Family Outreach raised the wages of some direct care workers from $11 per hour to $12.20 per hour this year, and by more in places where the cost of living is higher, such as Bozeman. But even starting wages of $16 or $18 an hour aren’t attracting enough people to work there, Family Outreach Program Manager Tyler Tobol said.
“It’s a field that not a lot of people want to get into, so those that we can find, I think being able to pay a higher wage, a living wage, I think that would be the best benefit we get out of the rate increase,” Tobol said.
The organization went from 153 employees in 2020 to 128 today. The staffing shortage means employees now focus mainly on making sure clients have the basics — medications and meals — instead of providing additional community integration and activity support services.
At Florence Crittenton in Helena, where moms 18 to 35 with substance use disorders can live with their young kids while undergoing treatment, a mom entered the kitchen where women are taught life skills like learning to cook dinner. The woman told a staff member she was making juice for her child.
“This is where life happens,” said Daniel Champer, Florence Crittenton’s clinical and residential services director.
Executive Director Carrie Krepps said the organization’s two main sources of revenue are Medicaid reimbursements and fundraising. Fundraising, which used to account for 30% of revenue, now makes up between 60% and 70% of the money coming in.
“It’s the reason we’re still open,” Krepps said.
At any given time, an average of 15 to 18 of Florence Crittenton’s 50 staff positions are vacant. If Medicaid rates don’t increase, she said, the organization will have to consider if it can continue operating the recovery home at its current capacity.
“The full rates would just barely cover where we are today,” Krepps said of raising Medicaid reimbursement rates to benchmark levels.
In 2021, Florence Crittenton closed a youth maternity home for pregnant youths and young moms ages 12 to 15, the only home in the state that took teens under 16. Krepps said Florence Crittenton didn’t take Medicaid fees there because the rates were too low.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Champer said. “It’s like clockwork on Monday morning. I come in and see the inquiries and referrals about moms who need treatment and we can’t function at full capacity because we don’t have staff.”
Dennis Sulser, the CEO of Youth Dynamics, which provides home support, case management, and community-based psychiatric rehabilitation across the state, said his organization is paying its staff more than it can afford. Even with the rate increase, he said, they’d only break even.
In the past three years, Youth Dynamics has lost 56 full-time employees. The covid-19 pandemic made people realize they could find other jobs that paid more and even allowed them to stay home, Sulser said.
Two years ago, the entry-level pay for Youth Dynamics was $10.70 per hour, and it now averages $13.70. Still, staffing shortages led to the closure of a group home in Boulder and one in Billings, shrinking the organization’s capacity from 80 to 64 beds statewide.
Ashley Santos, program manager for the organization’s three remaining group homes in Boulder, said she is trying to figure out how to attract enough staff to reopen the closed home there. An increase in pay supported by the provider rate increase could give her flexibility to provide extra incentives, she said.
But it’s hard to attract workers when Hardee’s has a starting wage of $18 per hour compared with Youth Dynamics’ $16, she said. And fast-food jobs don’t come with the emotional toll of working with kids who have a severe emotional disturbance diagnosis like PTSD or depression.
Back in Helena, Johnson made his last stop of the day for Family Outreach. He sat next to a client on the couch at the house where the client lives with his mom. Johnson called the number on the back of his client’s debit card to see how much money was left on it before they went out to run errands.
Johnson and the client then headed to a local supermarket. Trips like these give his client a chance to interact with other people, while his mom gets some time to herself.
“You look nice,” Johnson said to the client as they got into the car, the folksy music of Dougie Poole, the choice of Johnson’s previous client, playing in the background.
Keely Larson is the KHN fellow for the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Newspaper Association, and Kaiser Health News. Larson is a graduate student in environmental and natural resources journalism at the University of Montana.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose administration is struggling to contain a worsening homelessness crisis despite record spending, is trying something bold: tapping federal health care funding to cover rent for homeless people and those at risk of losing their housing.
States are barred from using federal Medicaid dollars to pay directly for rent, but California’s governor is asking the administration of President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, to authorize a new program called “transitional rent,” which would provide up to six months of rent or temporary housing for low-income enrollees who rely on the state’s health care safety net — a new initiative in his arsenal of programs to fight and prevent homelessness.
“I’ve been talking to the president. We cannot do this alone,” Newsom told KHN.
The governor is pushing California’s version of Medicaid, called Medi-Cal, to fund experimental housing subsidies for homeless people, betting that it’s cheaper for taxpayers to cover rent than to allow people to fall into crisis or costly institutional care in hospitals, nursing homes, and jails. Early in his tenure, Newsom proclaimed that “doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics.”
But it’s a risky endeavor in a high-cost state where median rent is nearly $3,000 a month, and even higher in coastal regions, where most of California’s homeless people reside. Experts expect the Biden administration to scrutinize the plan to use health care money to pay rent; and also question its potential effectiveness in light of the state’s housing crisis.
“Part of the question is whether this is really Medicaid’s job,” said Vikki Wachino, who served as national Medicaid director in the Obama administration. “But there is a recognition that social factors like inadequate housing are driving health outcomes, and I think the federal government is open to developing approaches to try and address that.”
Bruce Alexander, a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, declined to say whether the federal government would approve California’s request. Yet, Biden’s Medicaid officials have approved similar experimental programs in Oregon and Arizona, and California is modeling its program after them.
California is home to an estimated 30% of the homeless people in the U.S., despite representing just 12% of the country’s overall population. And Newsom has acknowledged that the numbers are likely far greater than official homeless tallies show. Top health officials say that, to contain soaring safety-net spending and help homeless people get healthy, Medi-Cal has no choice but to combine social services with housing.
Statewide, 5% of Medi-Cal patients account for a staggering 44% of the program’s spending, according to state data. And many of the costliest patients lack stable housing: Nearly half of patients experiencing homelessness visited the emergency room four times or more in 2019 and were more likely than other low-income adults to be admitted to the hospital, and a large majority of visits were covered by Medi-Cal, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
“What we have today doesn’t work,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, explaining his argument that housing is a critical component of health care. “Why do we have to wait so long for people to be so sick?”
The federal government has already approved a massive social experiment in California, known as CalAIM, which is transforming Medi-Cal. Over five years, the initiative is expected to pour $12 billion into new Medi-Cal services delivered outside of traditional health care. In communities across the state, it is already funding services for some low-income patients, including paying rental security deposits for homeless people and those facing eviction; delivering prepared healthy meals for people with diabetes; and helping formerly incarcerated people find jobs.
Rent payments could begin as soon as 2025 and cost roughly $117 million per year once fully implemented. And while state officials say anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless would be eligible, not everyone who qualifies will receive new services due to capacity limits. Among those who stand to benefit are nearly 11,000 people already enrolled in Medi-Cal housing services.
“The ongoing conversation is how do we convince the federal government that housing is a health care issue,” said Mari Cantwell, who served as Medi-Cal director from 2015 to 2020. “You have to convince them that you’re going to save money because you’re not going to have as many people showing up at the emergency room and in long-term hospitalizations.”
Health care experiments in California and around the country that funded housing supports have demonstrated early success in reducing costs and making people healthier. But while some programs paid for housing security deposits or participants’ first month of rent, none directly covered rent for an extended period.
“Without that foundational support, we are playing in the margins,” Newsom said.
State health officials argue that paying for six months of rent will be even more successful at reducing health care costs and improving enrollees’ health, but experts say that, to work, the initiative must have strict accountability and be bundled with an array of social services.
In a precursor to the state’s current initiative, California experimented with a mix of housing assistance programs and social services through its “Whole Person Care” pilot program. Nadereh Pourat, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, evaluated the program for the state concluding that local trials reduced emergency visits and hospitalizations, saving an average of $383 per Medi-Cal beneficiary per year — a meager amount compared with the program’s cost.
And a randomized control trial in Santa Clara County that provided supportive housing for homeless people showed reductions in psychiatric emergency room visits and improvements in care. “Lives stabilized and we saw a huge uptick in substance use care and mental health care, the things that everybody wants people to use to get healthier,” said Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the University of California-San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, who worked on the study.
But insurers implementing the broader Medi-Cal initiative say they are skeptical that spending health care money on housing will save the system money. And health care experts say that, while six months of rent can be a bridge while people wait for permanent housing, there’s a bigger obstacle: California’s affordable housing shortage.
“We can design incredible Medicaid policies to alleviate homelessness and pay for all the necessary supportive services, but without the adequate housing, frankly, it’s not going to work,” Kushel said.
Newsom acknowledges that criticism. “The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing,” he said last week, arguing California should plow more money into housing for homeless people with severe mental health conditions or addiction disorders.
He will ask the legislature to put before voters a 2024 ballot initiative that would infuse California’s mental health system with at least 6,000 new treatment beds and supportive housing units for people struggling with mental health and addiction disorders, many of whom are homeless. The proposed bond measure would generate from $3 billion to $5 billion for psychiatric housing and treatment villages aimed at serving more than 10,000 additional people a year. The initiative also would ask voters to set aside at least $1 billion a year for supportive housing from an existing tax on California millionaires that funds local mental health programs.
“People who are struggling with these issues, especially those who are on the streets or in other vulnerable conditions, will have more resources to get the help they need,” Newsom said.
For transitional rent, six months of payments would be available for select high-need residents enrolled in Medi-Cal, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless — and those transitioning from more costly institutions such as mental health crisis centers, jails and prisons, and foster care. Medi-Cal patients at risk of inpatient hospitalization or who frequent the emergency room would also be eligible.
“It’s a pretty big challenge; I’m not going to lie,” said Jacey Cooper, the Medi-Cal director. “But we know that people experiencing homelessness cycle in and out of emergency rooms, so we have a real role to play in both preventing and ending homelessness.”
Public health experts say the problem will continue to explode without creative thinking about how to fund housing in health care, but they warn the state must be wary of potential abuses of the program.
“It has to be designed carefully because, unfortunately, there are always people looking to game the system,” said Dr. Tony Iton, a public health expert who is now a senior vice president at the California Endowment. “Decisions must be made by clinicians — not housing organizations just looking for another source of revenue.”
For Stephen Morton, who lives in the Orange County community of Laguna Woods, the journey from homelessness into permanent housing illustrates the amount of public spending it can take for the effort to pay off.
Morton, 60, bounced between shelters and his car for nearly two years and racked up extraordinary Medi-Cal costs due to prolonged hospitalizations and repeated emergency room trips to treat chronic heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.
Medi-Cal covered Morton’s open-heart surgery and hospital stays, which lasted weeks. He landed temporary housing through a state-sponsored program called Project Roomkey before getting permanent housing through a federal low-income housing voucher — an ongoing benefit that covers all but $50 of his rent.
Since getting his apartment, Morton said, he’s been able to stop taking one diabetes medication and lose weight. He attributes improvements in his blood sugar levels to his housing and the healthy, home-delivered meals he receives via Medi-Cal.
“It’s usually scrambled eggs for breakfast and the fish menu for dinner. I’m shocked it’s so good,” Morton said. “Now I have a microwave and I’m indoors. I’m so grateful and so much healthier.”
Midwest KHN correspondent Bram Sable-Smith discussed the Eli Lilly news on insulin prices on “PBS NewsHour” and insulin prices on Slate’s “What Next” on March 1.
KHN contributor Andy Miller discussed Georgia’s legislative wrap-up including Medicaid work requirements on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Lawmakers” on Feb. 28. He also discussed health care for foster children on WUGA’s “The Georgia Health Report” on Feb. 3.
Senior KHN correspondent Julie Appleby discussed how the end of the public health emergency will affect costs for covid-19 vaccines, treatments, and masks on KMOX’s “Health Matters” on Feb. 25.
KHN correspondent Cara Anthony discussed the youngest victims of gun violence and those who dig their graves on America’s Heroes Group on Feb. 25.
KHN contributor Eric Berger discussed distracted driving laws and why Missouri still doesn’t have one on St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” on Feb 24.
With Medicare and Social Security apparently off the table for federal budget cuts, the focus has turned to Medicaid, the federal-state health program for those with low incomes. President Joe Biden has made it clear he wants to protect the program, along with the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans will likely propose cuts to both when they present a proposed budget in the next several weeks.
Meanwhile, confusion over abortion restrictions continues, particularly at the FDA. One lawsuit in Texas calls for a federal judge to temporarily halt distribution of the abortion pill mifepristone. A separate suit, though, asks a different federal judge to temporarily make the drug easier to get, by removing some of the FDA’s safety restrictions.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of STAT News, and Lauren Weber of The Washington Post.
Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:
States are working to review Medicaid eligibility for millions of people as pandemic-era coverage rules lapse at the end of March, amid fears that many Americans kicked off Medicaid who are eligible for free or near-free coverage under the ACA won’t know their options and will go uninsured.
Biden promised this week to stop Republicans from “gutting” Medicaid and the ACA. But not all Republicans are on board with cuts to Medicaid. Between the party’s narrow majority in the House and the fact that Medicaid pays for nursing homes for many seniors, cutting the program is a politically dicey move.
A national group that pushed the use of ivermectin to treat covid-19 is now hyping the drug as a treatment for flu and RSV — despite a lack of clinical evidence to support their claims that it is effective against any of those illnesses. Nonetheless, there is a movement of people, many of them doctors, who believe ivermectin works.
In reproductive health news, a federal judge recently ruled that a Texas law cannot be used to prosecute groups that help women travel out of state to obtain abortions. And the abortion issue has highlighted the role of attorneys general around the country — politicizing a formerly nonpartisan state post. –And Eli Lilly announced plans to cut the price of some insulin products and cap out-of-pocket costs, though their reasons may not be completely altruistic: An expert pointed out that a change to Medicaid rebates next year means drugmakers soon will have to pay the government every time a patient fills a prescription for insulin, meaning Eli Lilly’s plan could save the company money.
Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:
Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress reacted with compassion to the news that Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression. The reaction is a far cry from what it would have been 20 or even 10 years ago, as more politicians from both parties are willing to admit they are humans with human frailties.
Meanwhile, former South Carolina governor and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is pushing “competency” tests for politicians over age 75. She has not specified, however, who would determine what the test should include and who would decide if politicians pass or fail.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, and Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post.
Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:
Acknowledging a mental health disorder could spell doom for a politician’s career in the past, but rather than raising questions about his fitness to serve, Sen. John Fetterman’s decision to make his depression diagnosis and treatment public raises the possibility that personal experiences with the health system could make lawmakers better representatives.
In Medicare news, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) dropped Medicare and Social Security from his proposal to require that every federal program be specifically renewed every five years. Scott’s plan has been hammered by Democrats after President Joe Biden criticized it this month in his State of the Union address.
Medicare is not politically “untouchable,” though. Two Biden administration proposals seek to rein in the high cost of the popular Medicare Advantage program. Those are already proving controversial as well, particularly among Medicare beneficiaries who like the additional benefits that often come with the private-sector plans.
New studies on the effectiveness of ivermectin and mask use are drawing attention to pandemic preparedness. The study of ivermectin revealed that the drug is not effective against the covid-19 virus even in higher doses, raising the question about how far researchers must go to convince skeptics fed misinformation about using the drug to treat covid. Also, a new analysis of studies on mask use leaned on pre-pandemic studies, potentially undermining mask recommendations for future health crises.
On the abortion front, abortion rights supporters in Ohio are pushing for a ballot measure enshrining access to the procedure in its state constitution, while a lawyer in Florida is making an unusual “personhood” argument to advocate for a pregnant woman to be released from jail.
Plus for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:
When a private equity firm closed Seasons Midwifery and Birth Center in Thornton, Colorado, in October, the state lost one of its few non-hospital birthing centers and 53 families with pregnancy due dates in November and December were left scrambling to find providers.
But then staffers and community advocacy groups stepped in to fill the void for the suburban Denver community and its patients, many of whom rely on Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for people with low incomes. They reorganized Seasons as a nonprofit organization and struck a note of triumph and defiance in announcing its reopening in January as the free-standing Seasons Community Birth Center. Seasons has five deliveries scheduled in February and 30 in March.
“With the closing, we decided we’re not going to let capitalism take us down,” said Justina Nazario, a Seasons birth assistant. “We’re going to bring these really important qualities that you don’t get in the medical-industrial complex.”
Over the past two decades, the number of at-home and birth center deliveries nationwide was on the rise — until the covid-19 pandemic hit. The number of out-of-hospital births increased 22% from 2019 to 2020 and an additional 12% from 2020 to 2021, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Nationally, birth centers — medical facilities for labor and childbirth that rely on midwives to help with healthy, low-risk pregnancies — have lower rates of preterm births, low birth weights, and women transferred to hospitals for cesarean sections.
While C-sections can be lifesaving, they are major surgeries that come with significant risk and cost. A 2013 study of about 22,400 women who planned to give birth at a birth center found that 6% of those who entered labor at such a facility were sent to a hospital for a C-section. By contrast, about 26% of healthy, low-risk pregnancies in hospitals end in C-sections.
Before Seasons closed, staffers transferred about 8% of patients to a hospital for a C-section.
The funding model for birthing centers is complicated: In Colorado they are regulated and licensed by the state health department, yet because they’re not hospitals, they can’t bill insurance in the same way as a hospital. So Seasons, for example, receives about $4,000 per birth from private insurance, said Heather Prestridge, the clinic’s administrative director, while a hospital birth costs on average $19,000 and is reimbursed by insurance for about $16,000.
The only option for patients who don’t have private insurance and cannot pay out-of-pocket is to deliver in a hospital. Most birth centers don’t accept Medicaid, but Seasons is different. Before its closure, about 40% of its clients were on Medicaid, which reimburses less than other insurance providers, Prestridge said.
“Every time we take a Medicaid client on, we lose money,” Prestridge said. “It’s so important for everyone to have access to this kind of care, so we continue to do it anyway.”
Medicaid’s restrictions and low reimbursement rates have led to financial problems for birth centers, including Seasons, despite their being inundated with patients. In Colorado, 19% of the population and 36% of births were covered by Medicaid in 2022.
As a nonprofit, Seasons will need to lean on fundraising to fill the gaps, Prestridge said.
Colorado has seven birth centers, including Seasons, which often have rooms that look more like bedrooms than hospital rooms, and bathtubs as an option for delivery.
In 2018, two other Colorado birth centers — associated with hospital groups but owned by a for-profit parent company — closed. The two Denver-area practices primarily served patients who had low incomes or were refugees, according to The Colorado Sun.
“It came as a shock to us, but unfortunately it has become our reality,” Miki Tynan, co-founder and managing director of Colorado Birth and Wellness said of the birth center closures.
When Seasons closed Oct. 4, Colorado Birth and Wellness, a collaboration between two birth centers in the Denver area, took on more than 60 of its clients.
The physicians group that started Seasons in 2019, called Women’s Health Group, partnered with a private equity group, Shore Capital Partners, in late 2020 and became Elevate Women’s Health. Executives there determined that Seasons was unprofitable and closed it, said Aubre Tompkins, clinical director at Seasons Community Birth Center, and others who worked for Seasons at the time.
“It was pretty devastating,” Tompkins said. “There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of anger, there was a lot of confusion.”
After the closure was announced, Elephant Circle, a reproductive justice organization, reached out to Tompkins with a plan to raise money for Seasons to reopen as a nonprofit. The organization’s founder, Indra Lusero, said members wanted to save Seasons but also wanted to invest in making the nonprofit model work more broadly.
“There’s been some investment, there’s been federal studies, there’s great data — all the things saying, ‘Hey, I think this model looks like it could work. We should invest in this model,’” Lusero said.
As a nonprofit, Seasons plans to expand its services to include gender-affirming care and train more people as midwives and doulas to increase diversity in the field. Seasons offers annual gynecological exams, contraceptives, lactation services, and newborn care through the first two weeks of life.
Nazario, who describes herself as Afro-Latina, has experienced firsthand how essential her identity and experiences are to her work in birthing. Potential clients often reach out to her saying they had been looking for someone like her, someone like them.
Katherine Riley, who gave birth to her daughter at Seasons last year, is policy director at COLOR and a member of the Seasons Community Birth Center board. She said she’s excited to advance Seasons’ mission and expand teaching opportunities for future midwives.
“The practice of midwifery, I think, in itself is an act of resistance,” Riley said. “There’s a long history of racism and patriarchy in ousting midwives, and so I think returning as a community to that is so important.”