Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Hosts Medicaid Hearing

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Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Hosts Medicaid Hearing
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Medicaid Hearing Hosted By The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus
Jasmine Ellis

Mississippians impacted by Medicaid are having some of their concerned addressed. A hearing was hosted by the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus yesterday. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.

The committee is learning about issues with Medicaid including Medicaid expansion, transportation needs for residents enrolled in the program, and infant mortality. Tara Clark is deputy executive director for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid. She says the agency is meeting with experts and learning how they can reach pregnant women in the state.

"We need to be asking the Division of Medicaid, the Department of Health, other agencies how we can communicate to these moms and these young women," said Clark. "Because a lot of the times the manage care plans they can't get a hold to those members to educate them on all the various things they need to until sometimes the member show up to the hospital to deliver."

Mississippi ranks 50th in infant mortality according to the United Health Foundation.

Sixty five percent of pregnancies and deliveries in Mississippi are covered by Medicaid says Wengora Thompson. She is with the March of Dimes. Thompson says after sixty days post-delivery the mother is no longer covered by Medicaid which can cause problems.

"Health insurance would provide a way for a mom to get to a doctor to say, 'My legs are swelling up. Could this be post-delivery preeclampsia?' If she's uninsured her best bet is to go to the emergency department and receive some sort of brief care if she can there and that's it," said Thompson.

According to the Division of Medicaid, there are about 674,000 Mississippians enrolled in the program.