Doula FAST Tool for Community Doula Organizations’ Budget Planning and Advocacy

Published March 22, 2023 under Publications

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A user-friendly tool is now available to help New Jersey community-based doula organizations more accurately plan their budgets, especially when it comes to integrating Medicaid billing and other revenue sources into the process.

Developed by the Rutgers School of Public Health, with support from the Burke Foundation and thought partnership from HealthConnect One and the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, the Doula Forecasting and Sustainability Tool for Community Doula Organizations (Doula FAST) helps take the guesswork out of anticipating program costs and planning for sustainability. It also aids doulas in more effectively advocating for equitable reimbursement rates from Medicaid and other insurers.

The team developed a version for New Jersey users, with state-specific Medicaid policies and rates, and a version to use in other states that can be customized based on local context:

It’s encouraging that more states are taking such steps to increase access to community-based doula services as covering doula services through Medicaid or examining other possible coverage options. But reimbursement rates are still too low in many places for community organizations to offer high-touch, family-centered, culturally congruent maternity care that sustainably and fairly compensates doulas based on Medicaid revenue alone.

Doula FAST helps to:

· Quantify and show budget line items needed to operate a high-quality community doula program

· Pinpoint where budget shortfalls might emerge depending on available funding sources, such as Medicaid and private insurance

· Assist with strategic budget planning by enabling use of various scenarios based on local implementation and policy contexts.

· Inform policymakers, advocates, and funders with data they can use to develop solutions that help sustain community-based doula care

The tool is intended for use by organizations and agencies providing community doula services, those assessing whether to provide these services, and others who want to support a strong community doula workforce, such as policymakers, advocates, and public or private funders.

Please note that the tool is not designed for small business owners or doula entrepreneurs. A version tailored for individual doulas might be available in the future.

About the Burke Foundation

The Burke Foundation provides catalytic funding to nonprofit partners, state agencies, and communities to promote meaningful and measurable impact on children and families across New Jersey. Burke is particularly focused on the First 1,000 Days – investing upstream in primary prevention and community connections to address the stark racial disparities in early health outcomes for families of color – along with growing and strengthening a diverse perinatal workforce, including community doulas, midwives, and public health nurses. Learn more at

Unless otherwise noted, the Forecasting and Sustainability Tool for Community Doula Organizations is copyrighted by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with all rights reserved. Mention of the tool must describe it as “developed by the Rutgers School of Public Health, with support from the Burke Foundation.”


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