This summary document will to clarify all of the different types of breastfeeding support available and how each one plays an important role in helping moms and babies.
USLCA is the lead organization advocating for the licensure of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®, IBCLC®, in the United States. Licensure is designed to protect the public and help reduce disparities in care that many breastfeeding mothers face. USLCA has issued a new document to help provide clarity regarding some misconceptions that have been promulgated to legislators and the breastfeeding community. This document is designed to clarify many inaccuracies regarding IBCLC licensure. It is hoped that these documents will be shared widely with legislators. colleagues, and all those working to secure licensure of the IBCLC in the United States.
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a member of the maternal-child healthcare team with specialized skills in breastfeeding care and management. The IBCLC credential is the highest certification and the only internationally recognized credential in the field of lactation. Research has shown improved breastfeeding outcomes when mothers and infants receive the services of IBCLCs. While many training courses provide certificates of completion, only the IBCLC credential denotes certification in lactation consultation.
USLCA has created a new brochure targeting Medicaid directors to explain the importance of reimbursing the IBCLC for clinical lactation services. With approximately 45% of births in the US covered by Medicaid, a large population of women lack access to the professional lactation care of the IBCLC. Private insurers tend to follow the lead of the federal insurance programs, making it critical that Medicaid reimburse the IBCLC profession. USLCA members can affect disparity in care and broaden their likelihood of reimbursement by contacting their state Medicaid director and providing a copy of this brochure. Medicaid directors must become cognizant of the gap in covered services, the disparity in care, and how the professional IBCLC can remedy escalating costs for diseases and conditions prevented by successful breastfeeding. Brochures can be downloaded HERE.
The effectiveness and importance of the IBCLC has been documented many times in peer-reviewed published articles. Many governmental and non-governmental organizations describe the IBCLC as crucial for mothers to successfully breastfeed. USLCA has gathered the evidence into one document for use when validating the necessity and effectiveness of IBCLC care and services. This document can be used in discussions of IBCLC lactation care and services with hospitals, employers, policy makers, insurers, health agencies, and legislators.
The US Lactation Consultant Association has received a number of inquiries regarding the necessity and value of securing licensure for the IBCLC. Since there is no process for national licensure, the licensing of health professionals is done by each state. The goal of licensure is to provide for public safety. USLCA’s Licensure and Reimbursement Committee is diligently working to secure licensure for the IBCLC in a number of states.
Skyrocketing healthcare costs have resulted in a greater emphasis on disease prevention by healthcare professionals, government agencies, and health insurers. By providing immune protection and proper nutrition, breastfeeding remains a cost-effective intervention for disease prevention with an accompanying reduction in health care spending. Informed women are initiating breastfeeding at an increasing rate, from 26% in 1970 to 75% in 2007. However, many women struggle to maintain breastfeeding for as long as it is medically recommended and fail to achieve the intensity and duration of breastfeeding that they planned. This is often due to poor access to effective breastfeeding support within the medical system, false and misleading infant formula marketing, and societal barriers including: lack of paid maternity leave, unsupportive places of employment, and cultural discomfort with breastfeeding. Consequently, health care dollars are spent on treating diseases and conditions that could have been effectively prevented by breastfeeding. In order to appropriately address this preventative health care gap and the excessive costs that result, consumers, health care providers, insurers and employers need to be able to identify and access qualified lactation consultants to provide services and protect quality of care.
In Breastfeeding: A Guide For The Medical Profession, Lawrence and Lawrence describe a lactation consultant as a health care professional whose scope of practice is focused upon providing education and management to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems and to encourage a social environment that effectively supports the breastfeeding mother/infant dad. This allied healthcare provider is also depicted as possessing the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to facilitate breastfeeding.1 The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) has published Standards of Practice for Lactation Consultants. The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the only standardized, board-certified lactation credential available. Read More
Many IBCLCs have found themselves in the unfortunate position of experiencing a reduction in their hours, or under the threat of job elimination, due to hospital budget constraints. The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) recognizes this as a distressing situation that may have a significant impact and unintended consequences to couplets cared for in such institutions. This paper is designed to suggest potential strategies and practical steps for the IBCLC to utilize when their lactation consultant position or program is in jeopardy. Read More
Highlighting the positive effects that breastfeeding has on the environment. And the perks for the mothers as well!
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