The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a public workshop entitled “Examining Health Care Competition” to which public comments are invited. One of the five topics to be examined was the professional regulation of healthcare providers. The FTC wondered if certain regulations (such as licensing) prevented non-physician providers from practicing to the full extent of their scope and if this restricted consumer access to needed care. Licensing is designed to protect the public and provide a certain standard of care to ensure patient safety. Licensure creates an environment of accountability and quality of care. It is known that non-physician providers possess needed skills which can be delivered as less costly options in many situations. The FTC wondered if imposing costly limitations on professional services without well-founded consumer safety justifications suppressed beneficial competition by non-physician providers.

As many of you know, the US Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) is striving to secure licensure for the IBCLC. Many mothers lack access to the level of lactation care that they need because insurers typically reimburse only licensed providers. Licensure of the IBCLC would in no way prevent the provision of lactation care and services by other providers within their scope of practice.  Licensure of the IBCLC would actually increase the supply of services, improve patient safety, reduce healthcare expenditures, and enhance quality of care.

USLCA will be submitting its comments to the FTC next week that will include among other things, information on the IBCLC credential, the necessity and advantage for IBCLC licensure, consequences of not licensing the IBCLC, the facilitation of greater deployment of IBCLCs, lack of competitive harm for other breastfeeding service providers, and how vulnerable and underserved populations will have access to quality services which are not currently accessible.  Look for the entire FTC submission in your inbox.

USLCA appreciates all of you who have inquired and made comments on this topic!  Please know that the USLCA is listening to its members and remains steadfast in supporting the IBCLC.

Mission: To advance the IBCLC within the United States through leadership, advocacy, professional development and research.

Vision: The IBCLC is the recognized professional authority in lactation care in the United States.