Increase Access to Lactation Care: License IBCLCs in MA

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 Every day in Massachusetts, on average, 139 mothers give up on breastfeeding and are unable to meet their own breastfeeding goals – often due to the inability to access the clinical care of an IBCLC Lactation Consultant. At present there is no Allied Health Provider specializing in Lactation licensed in the state of Massachusetts. As a result families attempting to access Lactation Services they are entitled to at no cost under the ACA's Women's Preventive Services provision find it difficult or impossible to access clinical lactation care that is covered by their health plans. While some mothers can afford to pay out of pocket, there are many who cannot access the lactation care they need, particularly mothers who are insured by Medicaid plans such as MassHealth. 

Please sign today to support Massachusetts House Bill H3496 and Senate Bill S1270 - companion bills to license IBCLC Lactation Consultants in MA. In the comments section please include your city or town (or if you prefer include "Constituent of... and list your state rep and senator's names) and the communities where you work, if applicable, and share how you or families you know have been impacted by challenges accessing breastfeeding support here in MA and why you value access to lactation care for breastfeeding families in MA. The petition and comments will be presented to the Joint Committee on Public Health before they vote on these Bills in early February so please sign today.   

This article describes the challenges so many families experience:   Insurers, without a definition of lactation consultant conferred by the state, have in some cases limited care to licensed providers such as doctors and nurse practitioners, regardless of their expertise or availability to deliver lactation specific care. Most require families to pay out pocket for services the ACA provisions specify insurers provide without cost. Some will reimburse, placing the burden to complete insurance forms and wait for reimbursement on new families struggling to feed their babies and make ends meet while on unpaid leave. The results are families denied access or struggling to pay for care they are entitled to. Many forego or delay care resulting in health impacts to mother and baby.

These companion bills would license International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) in MA. Licensure of IBCLCs will protect the public interest by assuring a consistent standard of care, and it will allow more equitable access to this much needed professional service. Those who hold this certification have fulfill extensive requirements; including lactation specific education, practical experience assisting breastfeeding families, Health related coursework and passing of a rigorous examination. Continuing education is required for recertification every 5 years. The bills include provisions that insure that other lactation care providers with more limited training, all of whom provide valuable services, may continue to do so uninterrupted.

Please sign this petition in support of MA Senate Bill 1270 and MA House Bill 3496 (identical text) and share your experience with access to IBCLC care in the comments below and help us spread the word by sharing this link widely so our petition reflects the many families impacted by lack of access to lactation care.