Two licensure bills have been filed in Massachusetts.
In the House of Representative, presented by Marjorie Decker, H3496:  An Act to Improve Breastfeeding Care.
In the Senate, presented by Adam Hinds, S1270: An Act Promoting the Health and Well-being of Mothers and Infants.

The goal of licensure is to assure that all families in Massachusetts have access to IBCLC level of lactation care. Both of these bills recognize a diverse range of lactation care providers and services. Families will be able access any level of care they chose. Providers with other credentials can still give advice and support. Passage of this bill would mean only licensed IBCLCs will be able to identify themselves as Lactation Consultants in Massachusetts.

There are 15 varied certifications for breastfeeding/lactation support which is confusing. Licensure of the IBCLC assures families, health care providers and insurance companies of a standard of care. The IBCLC  credential requires the most lactation education and clinical experience (face to face time with mother/baby and guidance from a mentor) before becoming certified.

Licensure would:
• Enable women in Massachusetts to use their health insurance for payment (either reimbursement or coverage) for lactation care and services. The Affordable Care Act requires this.

• Because Medicaid only allows for licensed providers, more Medicaid families’ would have access to the clinical lactation care of an IBCLC. This has been a persistent disparity in providing services.

In addition, licensure of the IBCLC will
• Create opportunities for careers and jobs. Individuals who are supporting breastfeeding families would be able to earn a credential in a recognized licensed profession. This becomes a feasible way to make a living.
Recognizing that licensure provides a means to make a living, Oregon and Georgia, two states with licensure, now have college level programs whose graduates are prepared for the IBCLC examination and to build a career.

Timely and thorough support makes a difference. More families can begin and continue to provide breast milk for their babies. This saves the family money and improves the long-term health of the mother and baby. Access to affordable care is important to helping families meet their breastfeeding goals.

Contact your legislators by phone or email. Let them know about the importance of licensure of IBCLCs. Ask that they contact the chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Health and ask that they report favorably on these bills.

Learn about additional ways to support these bills and increase access to IBCLC care and credentials by contacting accesscommittee@masslca.org