FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 21, 2022
Legislation proposed by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D-Tacoma), SB 5702, would allow new parents to affordably access donor breast milk by requiring that health plans and the state Medicaid program provide coverage for donor breast milk.
“This bill is deeply personal to me and to so many new or expecting parents in our communities,” said Trudeau. “I understand the struggle, the shame and the trauma that accompanies difficult labor and the inability to produce the nutrients that your baby needs. When I had to go through that, I was not aware that donor breast milk was available but even if I did, it still would not have been covered by my medical insurance. This bill would help take down the financial cost of accessing this important resource and reduce the emotional toll on new parents who want the option to give their new babies human milk.
“The ability to breastfeed improves health and family outcomes and reduces health issues later in life. Making it easier and more affordable for all new parents to connect with the human milk resource their baby needs could make a world of difference for families in our state. At the end of the day, this is about setting up our newest little Washingtonians on the strongest, healthiest path.”
SB 5702 would require that all health plans and the state Medicaid program provide coverage for medically necessary donor breast milk for inpatient use when ordered by a licensed health care provider with prescriptive authority, or a certified Lactation Consultant for an infant who is medically or physically unable to receive maternal breast milk.
The bill also requires the Department of Health to adopt standards for ensuring milk bank safety, consistent with evidence-based guidelines that address donor screening, milk handling and processing, and record keeping.
SB 5702 had its first public hearing in the Health & Long Term Care committee on Jan. 21, 2022. The hearing can be viewed here.