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Walmart expands health services to address racial inequality

Matt Rourke/AP
FILE - Shown is a Walmart location in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is expanding its healthcare coverage of so-called doula services beyond its workers in Georgia to Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois in an effort to address racial inequities in maternal care. With this move, workers can take advantage of financial support to cover care by doulas— experts who are trained to help support mothers through the labor process and delivery of the child _ up to $1,000 per pregnancy.

Walmart is expanding health care coverage for employees who want to use a doula, a person trained to assist women during pregnancies, in an effort to address racial inequities in maternal care. After first
offering doulas to employees in Georgia last year, Walmart said Wednesday that it will expand the same benefit to its employees in
Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Walmart says it chose to extend coverage to states where the impact would be immediate. It said the mortality rate in Louisiana is five times higher for Black mothers than it is for white mothers and that in Indiana, 33 counties don’t have OB-GYN services.