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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 18, 2018 02:47 PM
From: Representative Donna Oberlander and Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood
To: All House members
Subject: Keystone Mothers' Milk Bank Act
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that would regulate and license donor human milk banks in Pennsylvania, which would be known as the “Keystone Mothers’ Milk Bank Act” or Key. Mom’s Milk.

The regulation of donor milk banks and their operation is necessary to insure the safety of this precious commodity and its effective distribution to children in need. We recognize that a mother’s own milk is the optimal nutrition for newborn infants and is a public health goal for the delivery of food to all infants, but many mothers face unique obstacles to producing enough milk for their own babies. When mother’s own milk is not available, donor human milk can provide a life-saving health benefit for high-risk infants as a supplement or bridge when determined to be medically necessary and physician-prescribed.

Donor milk is life-saving medicine for infants with very low birth weights less than four pounds preventing the onset of serious gastrointestinal problems that require surgery and entail thousands in medical costs. Without donor milk, these health issues can continue throughout that child’s life. Donor milk is also medically prescribed for children with heart problems and other compromising health care issues.

There is also anecdotal evidence, with additional research underway, that the use of donor milk can aid infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) when an opioid-addicted or recovering mother gives birth and cannot feasibly breast feed her baby. Based on the report recently issued by the Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), the rate of NAS in PA infants has increased 1,096% over the last sixteen years, with an average hospital stay five times longer than all other newborn hospital stays. NAS carries a risk of multiple health complications, including low birth weight, prematurity, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory issues. The PHC4 Report states that PA Medical Assistance in 2017 “was the anticipated primary payer in 86.9% of NAS-related hospital stays, compared to 40.7% of all other newborn stays.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates for the use of donor human milk for medically fragile newborns when provided through properly regulated milk banks, where appropriate measures are used to screen volunteer donors, and collect, store, and process the milk for distribution.

This proposed legislation calls on the Pennsylvania Department of Health to license donor milk banks if in compliance with the act or certified as a member in the good standing of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), or another nationally recognized accrediting organization for the operation of milk banks are established, along with licensure fees and prohibited practices that preclude the direct or indirect sale of human milk by any entity not licensed in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Health must prepare a biennial report that provides the number and location of licensed milk banks and a summary of the amount of donor milk donated, processed, and distributed in the Commonwealth.

Research clearly demonstrates that donor milk reduces infant mortality and prevents long- term health complications for medically vulnerable children. This serves to reduce overall health care costs, but more importantly, is of immeasurable value to the children we vow to protect.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this important measure.

Introduced as HB2516