ACTION ALERT: Get Medicaid Reimbursement For Donor Milk Into New York’s Budget

Donor-Milk-NY-Rally---Solages-and-Amber

Last year New York State’s legislature passed a law mandating that Medicaid cover the cost of donor human milk when medically indicated for inpatient and outpatient babies. Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo vetoed it, due to budgetary concerns and the way the bill was written.

Despite the veto, the lifesaving value of donor milk has now been acknowledged by New York’s legislature and governor. That recognition needs to be converted into Medicaid coverage of donor milk so that more babies’ lives can be saved. As legislators get ready to meet and discuss the budget, now is the time. Several states already provide such coverage and New York should too.

Whether you have donated or received milk, you know a baby and family who have, or you are a breastfeeding advocate, healthcare provider, or hospital representative, your voice of support for donor breast milk coverage can make a difference today.

Please call Senator Hannon and Governor Cuomo today to urge them to budget $3 million dollars in 2018 to pay for donor milk for premature and sick infants. It will save at least $10-15 million dollars by reducing the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis, and more in prevention of other long and short term diseases of prematurity.

Our letters to Senator Hannon and Governor Cuomo are below for easy reference. Please copy and edit them as useful when drafting your own.

Thank you for your efforts.
The Honorable Senator Kemp Hannon

 

NY State Senate 6th District
Chair, Senate Health Committee
New York State Senate
The Capitol – Room 420
Albany, NY 12247
Email: hannon@nysenate.gov
March 1, 2017

Dear Senator Hannon,

We urge you to budget $3 million dollars in 2018 to pay for pasteurized donor human milk for premature and sick infants. It will save at least $10-15 million dollars by reducing the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis.

As the largest pasteurized donor human milk bank operating in New York State, providing donor milk to 20 hospital NICUs and countless families, we urgently stress the importance of this bill. It will save the lives of babies in need, improve the wellbeing of New York’s families, and save a significant amount of money for the state.

The use of pasteurized donor human milk reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, the number two killer of premature babies, by nearly 80%, and can help promote breastfeeding by serving as a nutritional bridge until a mother is able to establish her own milk supply. Along with multiple other health benefits, premature babies receiving breast milk over formula are significantly less likely to contract retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which can cause blindness. In short, breast milk is not simply nourishment, it is also medicine. It is estimated that 3,500 New York babies would be eligible for donor milk under this new legislation, saving roughly $10.5 million in direct hospitalization costs.

A recent study shows that hospitals with more Medicaid recipients are less likely to use donor milk than others. Providing Medicaid and health insurance coverage will go a long way to improving the health outcomes of fragile babies for all kinds of families. We think that this is an important initiative for you to bring New York and we that hope you do too. Please join the other states of California, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Utah plus Washington DC in providing this important coverage.

Sincerely,

Naomi Bar-Yam, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast
President, Human Milk Banking Association of North America

 

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Fax: (518) 474-1513
Website: http://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
March 1, 2017

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We urge you to budget $3 million dollars in 2018 to pay for pasteurized donor human milk for premature and sick infants. It will save at least $10-15 million dollars by reducing the rate of necrotizing enterocolitis.

As the largest pasteurized donor human milk bank operating in New York State, providing donor milk to 20 hospital NICUs and countless families, we urgently stress the importance of this bill. It will save the lives of babies in need, improve the wellbeing of New York’s families, and save a significant amount of money for the state.

The use of pasteurized donor human milk reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, the number two killer of premature babies, by nearly 80%, and can help promote breastfeeding by serving as a nutritional bridge until a mother is able to establish her own milk supply. Along with multiple other health benefits, premature babies receiving breast milk over formula are significantly less likely to contract retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which can cause blindness. In short, breast milk is not simply nourishment, it is also medicine. It is estimated that 3,500 New York babies would be eligible for donor milk under this new legislation, saving roughly $10.5 million in direct hospitalization costs.

A recent study shows that hospitals with more Medicaid recipients are less likely to use donor milk than others. Providing Medicaid and health insurance coverage will go a long way to improving the health outcomes of fragile babies for all kinds of families. We think that this is an important initiative for you to bring New York and we that hope you do too. Please join the other states of California, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Utah plus Washington DC in providing this important coverage.

Sincerely,

Naomi Bar-Yam, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast
President, Human Milk Banking Association of North America