New York has recently said it will subsidize the cost of breast milk donations for babies coming from low-income families. This is for the sake of preemies who may suffer from serious health problems without regular access to breast milk.
“Ensuring our most fragile infants have access to donor breast milk when in the NICU and the mother’s milk is not an option is the next step in promoting the lifelong benefits of breast milk,” New York State Senate health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon said in a statement.
He has called for Medicaid coverage when it comes to donor breast milk. He argues that this is the best way to ensure that “safe ‘medicine'” can be provided to infants who need it the most, those who were born with significantly low birth weights. On April 9, the New York State Legislature had approved the 2017-2018 budget. This includes a provision that grants Medicaid coverage to donor breast milk for premature babies.
The price of donor breast milk is too high for some recipients.
According to a report from Huffington Post, mothers face relatively high fees when acquiring donated pasteurized breast milk. In fact, the New York Milk Bank typically charges a fee of $4.50 per ounce from its recipients. According to the institution, the fee goes towards the cost of the milk bank’s daily operations. ” The fee covers our cost of operations: salaries, rent and utilities, lab supplies, blood tests for donors, office supplies, bottles, etc.,” New York Milk Bank executive director Julie Bouchet-Horwitz explained.
Making breast milk more available to preemies will decrease risk for NEC.
With the inclusion of donor breast milk in Medicaid coverage, it is hoped that preemies will be at less risk from a disease known as necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC. NEC is a sudden-onset intestinal disease that can be combated by breast milk’s anti-infective factors, hormones and intestinal growth factors.
According to Hannon, helping preemies from low-income families stay protected from NEC would also work in the state’s favor. “Increased use of PDHM would save the state money by preventing these infants from contracting NEC,” he explained. According to Hannon, NEC can lead “increased risk of infections, prolonged hospital stays, feeding intolerance, dependence on intravenous nutrition, and potential lifelong intestinal problems or developmental disabilities.”