|Posted:||October 16, 2017 04:15 PM|
|From:||Representative Marcy Toepel|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Lactation Consultant Licensure|
|In the near future I will be introducing legislation to amend The Professional Nursing Law (Act 69 of 1951) to provide for the licensure of lactation consultants under the State Board of Nursing.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that breastfeeding provides significant health benefits for both nursing children and their mothers. We know that breastfeeding reduces the rate of asthma, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies, and diabetes, cancer and postpartum depression in mothers. Breastfeeding also provides an economic benefit for government as well, as the Federal Women Infant and Children (WIC) program spends more on formula than any other food - $927 million in fiscal year 2010 alone.
By licensing individuals who are specially trained and qualified to provide evidence-based support to nursing mothers, we can increase the breastfeeding rates in Pennsylvania. Too many times a mother is willing to breastfeed but encounters obstacles in doing so and lacks the technical support to continue. Licensed lactation consultants are healthcare professionals whose sole practice is the delivery of lactation care and services. Their advice and support goes beyond what physicians, nurses and dietitians generally are trained to provide.
State licensure of lactation consultants is necessary in order to give greater access to meaningful support for breastfeeding mothers. The Center for Medicaid Services encourages states to include lactation services as separately reimbursed pregnancy-related services, but to do so requires that the provider be licensed. Currently in Pennsylvania, this means the coverage is typically only provided by a nurse who sees the mother once in the hospital rather than for any services post-discharge when they are most needed. Licensure will help to ensure properly trained lactation consultants are adequately recognized as part of the team of healthcare professionals who provide care to mothers and their babies.