The Protect Sick Babies Act (HB 2017), introduced by Representatives Wendi Thomas and Austin Davis, expands access to Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) by establishing insurance reimbursement for medically necessary donor milk.
Human milk is essential for the well being and health of all infants, but it is especially necessary for infants born prematurely or ill. For medically fragile infants, an all human milk diet provides unparalleled protection against severely life-threatening complications that can lead to lengthy hospital stays, multiple procedures, readmissions, life-long disability, or death.
The Protect Sick Babies bill would cover medically prescribed PDHM for inpatient and outpatient infants who have serious health conditions such as:
In a retrospective study of 140 infants with small bowel atresia or gastroschisis, those receiving PDHM to supplement mother's own milk had a shorter hospital stay (25 vs. 35 days) and less central line (used for TPN) days (20 vs. 28 days) in comparison to infants that were supplemented with formula.
An exclusive human milk diet has been shown to decrease the overall incidence of NEC by up to 80% and the rate of surgical NEC, which carries a 40% mortality rate, by over 90%. Those infants who acquire NEC despite having an all human milk diet have a less serious course of disease, recover quicker, and rarely require surgery.