Breastfeeding Coverage Violations in Health Plans, Stories Needed
As the new report from the National Women's Law Center (see Partner News below) garners attention, we need YOUR stories about experiences with health plan implementation of the ACA breastfeeding coverage requirements. Both positive and negative stories are needed! Together we can put pressure on insurers and policymakers to ensure that this critical preventive service is really working for our nation's moms and babies. Your submissions will become part of a bank of real-life stories, compiled and displayed in real time and used for a variety of purposes, including in conversations with Congress, policymakers, and the media, and in future action campaigns, blogs, articles, etc.
Tell Congress We Need Breastfeeding-Friendly Airports
An airport is just one of many environments where women face challenges trying to find a clean, private space to nurse or pump. That's why Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has introduced the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, which require all large and medium hub airports to provide a private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for mothers to express breast milk. The bill already has received bipartisan support, including several key committee members, and this year represents a unique opportunity with the pending reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Together we can help make airports truly "breastfeeding-friendly": use our easy action tool to ask your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the FAM Act!
Army Breastfeeding Provision, from Congress
An amendment to the House Armed Services Committee's defense authorization bill draft would require the Secretary of the Army to develop a comprehensive policy regarding breastfeeding for female soldiers that addresses the availability of appropriate facilities and allows for work breaks for pumping milk. The Army is the only one of the four services that does not have a specific, service-wide breastfeeding policy. The authorization bill will have to survive debate and be signed by the president before becoming law.
Perinatal Care in CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Highlights, from AHRQ
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued Evaluation Highlight No. 12 from the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) Quality Demonstration Grant Program. This Highlight details how Florida and Illinois are leveraging CHIPRA quality demonstration funds to improve the quality of perinatal care, defined as health care provided during pregnancy up until a week after birth. CHIPRA grant funding has helped establish or expand perinatal quality collaboratives, which engage hospitals in evidence-based and data-driven quality improvement projects aimed at improving perinatal care and outcomes for pregnant women and newborns.
Health Reform and Preconception Issue Brief, from AMCHP
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs has released an issue brief, entitled Opportunities and Strategies for Improving Preconception Health through Health Reform. The brief explores how states can capitalize on the opportunities presented by health reform to improve birth outcomes, particularly through preconception health. It highlights state Maternal Child Health (MCH) programs that are working to strengthen partnerships to implement preconception health activities, enhance preventive care for women, explore financing options for preconception care services, and use data to inform policy and program development.
Breastfeeding Coverage Report and Webinar, from NWLC
The National Women's Law Center has published a new report specifically analyzing breastfeeding coverage offered on health insurance Marketplaces by more than 100 insurance companies in 15 states. State of Breastfeeding Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act details Affordable Care Act (ACA) breastfeeding requirements, coverage problems, and recommendations to improve implementation. The ACA requires insurer coverage of breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling without cost-sharing, yet the NWLC review found widespread coverage gaps. Of the 15 states analyzed, 20 insurers in six states are imposing limits on coverage of breastfeeding benefits that are in violation of the ACA. Join NWLC for a webinar on Thursday, May 28 from 2-3 p.m. ET, to hear more from experts and breastfeeding advocates about their recommendations for addressing ongoing problems with this important benefit.
Status of Women in the States Report, from IWPR
The Institute for Women's Policy Research has published this latest report in its annual series, Status of Women in the States: 2015, analyzing data related to women's political participation and leadership, as well as access to paid leave, support for dependent and elder care, cost and quality of child care, and the gender gap in labor force participation for parents of young children.
News from the Field
Infant Formula Distribution in Hospitals, from Pediatrics
The journal Pediatrics has published an article, entitled "Trends of US Hospitals Distributing Infant Formula Packs to Breastfeeding Mothers, 2007 to 2013." The article reports that the percentage of hospitals distributing infant formula discharge packs to breastfeeding mothers went from 72.6% in 2007 to 31.6% in 2013, a decrease of 41 percentage points. Discontinuing this practice is a part of optimal, evidence-based maternity care to support mothers who want to breastfeed. Media highlights include:
- NBC News: "Survey Shows Big Drop in Free Baby Formula Giveaways"
- CBS News: "Fewer hospitals offer new moms free baby formula"
- U.S. News & World Report: "Fewer U.S. Hospitals Send New Moms Home With Formula"
New Work and Family Campaign, from Make It Work
The Make it Work Campaign was launched last week with a press call featuring guest speakers Gloria Steinem, Senator Patty Murray, economist Bill Rodgers, and Sonya Underwood, a worker and activist in Georgia. The campaign is circulating the Make it Work Pledge, which asks individuals to only support and vote for candidates who support advancement in equal pay, caregiving, and work and family.
Breastfeeding Data Infographic, from Carson Research Consulting
Carson Research Consulting has released an infographic depicting the latest data on breastfeeding in the U.S.
Collective Impact Connection
Building Trust with Communities of Color, from SSIR
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has released a blog post, entitled "Building Trust with Communities of Color." The post offers strategies, organized into three domains, for engaging communities of color in local health initiatives.
News & Views
Newsweek: "The Booming Market for Breast Milk"
Nurse.com: "Home visits by nurses improve breast-feeding rate"
Slate: "Hands That Itch to Hold the Spoon"