Del. Medicaid to give new moms diapers, home-delivered meals

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines


A new Delaware Medicaid program will give moms enrolled in a Medicaid program two delivered meals a day, up to 80 diapers a week and a box of wipes to help them through postpartum. Photo by RDNE Project/Pexels

Delaware will become the first state to give new moms enrolled in a Medicaid program a safety net of 12 weeks of free diapers, wipes and home-delivered meals.

The pilot program, set to run five years, is designed to offer those moms and babies a healthier start by reducing maternal stress and food and diaper insecurity during postpartum, the period of time it takes for a woman’s body to return to normal after pregnancy.

The program will also allow Delaware to enroll women in evidence-based outpatient treatment programs for pregnant or postpartum mothers diagnosed with stimulant or opioid use disorders.

Those 18 or older who are diagnosed with a stimulant use disorder will be eligible for a 24-week program; those diagnosed with an opioid use disorder who are 18 or older, pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum diagnosed and who have a completed American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria assessment indicating that outpatient treatment is medically appropriate, will be eligible for a 64-week program.

The moves are supported by a 1115 Waiver approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It was not immediately clear how big the grant is or whether Delaware has to match the money in some way.

The five-year pilot program will extend a pilot program to give low-income postpartum mothers two home-delivered meals per day, or one medically appropriate shelf-stable food box. It will cover up to 80 diapers and one pack of baby wipes per week during the first 12 weeks following birth of the baby.

The state press release said food-insecure mothers are more than twice as likely as their food-secure peers to report mental health problems, such as stress, depression and anxiety, while caring for a newborn during the post-partum period.

Food insecure mothers also experience decreased rates of breastfeeding, which can help protect babies against short- and long-term illnesses and disease, such as asthma, obesity and diabetes.

Diapers and stress

Access to sufficient diapers also offers health benefits to the mother, as diaper need is associated with both maternal depression and stress. the release said.

On average, newborn babies can require eight to 10 diapers a day, or around 300 a month. Ensuring adequate supply of diapers helps to prevent avoidable health care utilization and improves overall infant health, as frequent diaper changes are the mainstay of recommendations to prevent diaper rash and urinary tract infections.

“The First State is one of the first in the nation to make the first months less stressful––and healthier––for new mothers through nutrition and diapering support,” said Andrew Wilson, director of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. “Allowing mothers to focus on caring for their babies and themselves instead of worrying about how to pay for diapers and meals will greatly help reduce stress, depression and anxiety, so they can focus on the health of their babies and their own postpartum care.”

The state will implement the contingency management benefit through DMMA-approved behavioral health providers, the release said.

The program includes incentive payments for beneficiaries who test negative for identified stimulants on an established schedule.

Helping low-income pregnant women and new moms and their babies has long been a focus of state and other groups.

Last September, a report on a program that gave 40 pregnant New Castle County women $1,000 a month for 24 months had greater than expected health and other benefits.

The Guaranteed Basic Income program was paid for by federal Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition and Assistant Program (SNAP, once called food stamps).

Among its outcomes was reduced hospital stays and emergency department visits, more prenatal care and fewer complications at birth. The sponsors said that 50% of the money went toward groceries/food, household items/basic needs, and gas/auto/transportation, with 30%  going directly to groceries/food.

Critics said they wanted to see the program tried in other areas besides New Castle County.


Share this Post