Project Licensure is a committee formed from MLCA. The original goal was, and remains, licensure for IBCLCs. However, we’ve come to see that licensure is just one step. The larger set of goals is
• to enable lactation work to be financially viable
• to support access to the field for those in marginalized and underserved communities
• to remove barriers to comprehensive lactation care for all MA families.

For the purpose of licensure, we recently re-filed a bill. We ask you to review the bill and contact your legislators this week. Encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors.The bills are as follows:

• Introduced by Senator Adam G. Hinds: SD.1626, An Act promoting the health and well-being of mothers and infants.
• Introduced by Representative Marjorie Decker: HD 2761 An Act to improve breastfeeding care.

There are three important aspects of licensure to note:
1. Licensure remains a key requirement for insurance and Medicaid to provide coverage (no out of pocket cost). Recognizing IBCLC with licensure means more access to this care for more families, not just those who can pay out of pocket.
As a result, licensure of IBCLCs will reduce the economic barriers to comprehensive lactation support. In addition, this means more opportunities, as a licensed IBCLC, for a sustainable source of income.

2. Rather than remain ‘outside’ the recognized fields, licensure would integrate lactation more fully into the healthcare system. As changes (such as Accountable Care Organizations) in systems are enacted, decisions will impact breastfeeding support. For this reason, our voice in the discussions about health care needs to be included.

3.These licensure bills recognize the value of other lactation support providers. That is to say peer counselors, volunteer support, Baby Café breastfeeding counselors and the like would still be able to provide education and support. However, it will distinguish the IBCLC credential for licensure. This has always been our intention. We work well together.

Participating in the legislative process has been an opportunity to educate not only legislators about breastfeeding care but also have conversations with Medicaid and private insurers. As an example, in 2017 MLCA had a productive discussion with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The result was that BC/BS now reimburses for IBCLC home visits. Representatives of MLCA have also met with medical directors of other health plans in Massachusetts. This has provided us with insight into ways to improve access to care.

It’s important to realize MLCA’s larger accomplishments that support IBCLCs. Since 2016, we’ve offered seven educational events, including five conferences. The MLCA lending library, with books, textbooks, professional journals and a few DVDs, is a valuable resource for all. In order to support aspiring IBCLCs, MLCA is currently developing a mentoring program. In addition, MLCA has regularly offered conference scholarships for peer counselors. It’s worth it to become a member!.

The mission of MLCA is to build professional recognition, advocate for the advancement of the profession and support the professional needs of the members.
The specific goal of licensure is to assure that consistent, skilled lactation support is always available to families even as health care systems change.

We invite you to share your thoughts, become involved and support these bills. Please contact your local representative and senator and urge them to support these two bills. We thank Senator Hinds and Representative Decker for their support.

To ask questions or get involved,  contact Maire at  info@projectlicensure.org