Ohio Doula Legislation (May Newsletter)

Ohio doula legislation

Should nurses have oversight over doulas? New doula legislation in Ohio says “yes.”

A new law (Section 4723.89 | Doula certification) in Ohio states: “Beginning on October 3, 2024, a person shall not use or assume the title “certified doula” unless the person holds a certificate issued under this section by the board of nursing.” So now, the Ohio Board of Nursing (BON) gets to decide who qualifies to be a doula! Whose bright idea was this? By restricting doula certification, what problem is the State of Ohio solving? Who is being protected? Why would a medical professional have authority over a non-medical professional? Ohio doulas need to organize and fight this ridiculous regulatory overreach but, unfortunately, it is a done deal, the legislation has passed. Nurses have essentially hijacked our profession, bringing it under their purview. I am trying to learn more about this travesty and what can be done about it. I will keep you posted. If you have insight to share, please email patty@lifespandoulas.com. 

At this time, there is no mention of end-of-life doulas as they are only regulating birth and postpartum doulas. However, a terrible precedent has been set. How long will it take before hospitals in Ohio start requiring that doulas be certified by the OBN in order to gain access? Doulas throughout the U.S. need to pay attention to similar efforts in their home states and let their voices be heard. This is the downside of procuring approval for third party reimbursement for doulas. It opens the door for government regulation, and there is no way of knowing ahead of time what language/restrictions will be incorporated in the final version of the law.

Remembering Penny Simkin

Penny Simkin

Penny Simkin, the “mother of the doula movement,” died this past month. Penny was one of the founding members of Doulas of North America (DONA). She embodied all the qualities of an exemplary doula, teacher, and mentor. She was also a prolific author. 

My favorite Penny story was one she shared at a conference years ago where she gave the keynote address. She told a story wherein she was being called to account by a hospital bigwig for having the audacity to share information and promote informed consent with her clients. I’m guessing the information she shared did not necessarily reinforce blind compliance with medical protocols. Dr. Bigwig demanded to know just who she thought she was and what were her credentials? Penny’s response: “I can read.” 

She was smart, funny, gentle, unfailingly kind, curious, and generous with her time. I will always be grateful that I received my training to be a doula trainer from her. There could not be a better doula role model. With much gratitude, rest in peace, Penny.

How to Start a Doula Business (webinar)

Patty Brennan will be the featured presenter for an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm EDT,sponsored by the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA). This is a NEDA member benefit.

Patty is the author of The Doula Business Guide, 4th Edition (2024). In this webinar, she will outline the steps necessary to launch a doula business. We will look at the pros and cons of a variety of doula business models and legal business structures. We will answer the questions:

  • Should I incorporate?
  • How much should I charge for my services?
  • What information should be included in my client contract?
  • How do I protect my business name?
  • And more!

Make an informed decision about the doula business model best suited to your goals, strengths, and skills. And get your questions answered!

Doula Business Guide and Workbook

A Spring End-of-Life Doula Workshop (on Zoom)

May 18 & 19 (Saturday & Sunday, 10am-4pm EDT)
With Patty Brennan

We still have space if you would like to join us this month for a live, interactive workshop. Many folks are opting for our 100% self-paced training program, but those who attend a workshop (our hybrid program) always report they are happy they made the choice. The opportunity to connect with others and process ideas and case studies together, allows us to go deeper in our understanding. Learn more about our End-of-Life Doula Training.

Setting Your Fees as an EOLD: May Members Only Webinar

May 15 (Wednesday, 8-9pm EDT)
With Patty Brennan

Based on the number of questions I field on this topic, EOLDs launching new businesses are struggling with how to set their fees. We will facilitate a discussion on how to value our doula work following a brief presentation by Patty Brennan. Fee setting considerations include your cost of doing business, your need for income, your geographic location and population served, whether to charge by the hour or set a package rate for services, how to do market research, and more. Not a member? Become a member of Lifespan Doulas.

Request for Proposals

Do you have expertise in an area related to end-of-life care that you are eager to share? We would love to hear from you! Here is a bit more information:

  • Webinars take place on the third Wednesday of January, March, May, July, September, and November from 8-9pm Eastern Time.
  • A $150 stipend is paid. The presenter also gets exposure for their business and a link to their website in all promotional materials (on our website, monthly e-newsletter to 8,000+ subscribers, and social media). 
  • Presenter must have a reliable internet connection and be familiar with using the Zoom platform.
  • All presentations will be recorded and archived on our website (including the link to your website)
  • Check out our list of past topics/webinar archives. 
  • Email patty@lifespandoulas.com with your idea(s) and availability for upcoming 2024 dates.
  • We are also open to hearing your ideas for webinar topics that you have an interest in attending as a participant. What do you want to know more about?

Your advocacy is needed!

Time Sensitive: Michigan birth doulas are pushing to raise reimbursement rates for services to Medicaid-eligible families. Current approved amounts are significantly below the market rate and thereby disincentivize doulas from engaging the complex claims submission process. Learn more about how you can help. This needs to be sustainable for the doulas!

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Patty Brennan

Patty is the owner and visionary force behind Lifespan Doulas. For 40+ years, she has been a doula, midwife, educator, author, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. Patty has personally trained over 3,000 people to become doulas. She is the author of The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 4th Edition, and accompanying Workbook.