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Preface: I'm jumping the World Breastfeeding Week gun a bit by sharing this post a day early. After reading it, you'll understand that this is probably the only chance I'll have to sit submerged in the tub and blog (yes, so much TMI)-something I haven't done in months (blog, anyway).
Ok so what's all of this about?
World Breastfeeding Week (#WBW2017) is celebrated globally from August 1-7, and this year's theme is "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together". This year, #WBW2017 is asking stakeholders in healthy families to forge new and purposeful partnerships--and after much effort, Breastfeeding Housecalls is doing just that-read all the way through if you want to read where I get mushy about it...but here's the jist:
And first, so you understand:
See, a similar call to action (to make breastfeeding care more accessible) was placed a few years ago by the Affordable Care Act--except that it had a few loopholes. Though unenforceable, ACA (the Act) made it law that insurance companies cover lactation care, using new and breastfeeding-specific medical coding, under Women's Preventative Services portion of the Act. What the Act didn't specify was who was to provide the lactation care and who would be able to use these new billing codes. With vagueness like that, it then became health insurance companies' job to decide who would actually provide these services to their members: doctors, nurses or...actual breastfeeding experts: the IBCLC...and this is where things start tying back to my good news, so sit tight.
See, the the problem was that all IBCLCs are, comparatively, breastfeeding experts, yet not all doctors or nurses are breastfeeding experts--so it took some years, some convincing and some good conscience for only *some* insurance companies to decide that they would save money and help more families by covering services straight from experts: the IBCLCs.
And this is what is so super cool:
In SA, though, it's taken years (not super cool) for insurance-company coverage of lactation care to become a possibility. BUT... that just changed, because effective earlier this month (yes, I took a while to social-media-release)--after 5-ish years of endless on-hold hours and administrative untangling, it came to be that I finally received a contract to provide covered services with a health insurance company: AETNA! (SUPER COOL!).
Just sit here for a second and let that sink in: a private lactation resource in SA finally scored with an insurance company.
THAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
But just Aetna?
Does this solve everyone's needs? It doesn't, but it's the first step in the right direction to get health insurance companies to see the value in providing quality care from an expert and trusted provider, the IBCLC. Of course, all families who reach out will continue to be supported, and insurance claim forms will be provided for them to seek reimbursement, just as I have done for the past 6+ years. My calendar is equally open to all, not just to families who have Aetna.
Ok, so this is where I get mushy about it...
So what does this mean specifically for yours-truly, and for the families that BH serves? It means that BH will be able to reach even more families than it already serves, and will be able to reach even more families with middle and lower incomes, and that I'll be able to reach more working moms and more community partners who want to answer the #WBW2017 call to forge sustainable relationships for the benefit of breastfeeding mothers.
And, personally, it has also meant that in my first month of marriage, I worked approximately 12 hours per day with two sort-of days off...which is definitely not sustainable--and means that I will soon and finally be expanding BH's reach. My priority now is to keep growing babies while growing BH as a resource. Breastfeeding Housecalls will offer more families what it has always offered best: expert care, the ability to see babies ASAP and the commitment to "Be God's hands and hearts in the lives of new families."
Thank for taking the time to read this and to share in such great news for me, and also for the moms and babies of San Antonio!
Love and breast wishes!
Stakeholders of healthy moms and babies in San Antonio, please let friends and clients who are Aetna members know that their consults may now be covered (under the vast majority of Aetna policies).