Recently, the Mid-Atlantic Mothers' Milk Bank's Executive Director Denise O'Connor gave Talk Pittsburgh's Heather Abraham a tour of the milk bank. Then, along with local mom Faith Perez, they discussed the milk bank's work, the importance of donor milk, and even Senate Bill 500. Use the link below to watch the full tour and interview.
Owen's Law, or Senate Bill 500, has been introduced in the Pennsylvania State Senate by Senators Michele Brooks and Judy Schwank. This legislation will expand access to pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) by requiring Medical Assistance coverage for medically necessary donor milk.
In the House, Representative Donna Oberlander has introduced companion legislation, House Bill 1111, to meet the needs of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable population.
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.
Owen's Law will require medical assistance coverage for medically necessary donor milk for infants in inpatient and outpatient settings 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.