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Partnering to Get Donor Human Milk for Infants in the ICU

May 10, 2023

Even though human milk intake is associated with improved outcomes for infants who have very low birthweight, many of these infants do not have access to human milk, both because their parents do not have the capacity to provide it and/or because the cost of pasteurized donor human milk is generally not covered.

Dr. Shetal Shah at New York Medical College and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, Emory University, and the University of Washington set out to change that. This week, Pediatrics is early releasing an Advocacy Case Studies, entitled “Expanding Medicaid Payment for Pasteurized Donor Human Milk in High-Risk Neonates,” which describes their efforts (10.1542/peds.2022-061079).

In this article, the authors describe how they partnered with the AAP Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and used Dr. Shah’s experience, in which she partnered with New York legislators to draft legislation, submitted legislative testimony, and conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, to develop a toolkit for pediatricians in other states to use.

The AAP also provided small pilot grant funding for pediatricians to advocate for coverage of pasteurized donor human milk in their states.

Read this article – you will be inspired by what these neonatologists were able to accomplish – they were able to expand Medicaid coverage of pasteurized donor human milk to 5 additional states! And it may inspire you to do the same in your state.

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