Healthy Health Plans Promote Breastfeeding
Most of us have heard that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for the baby, but did you know that it can also be quite beneficial for the mother and the health plan as well? For this month’s blog post, in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, we’ll discuss several of these benefits and illustrate how ProgenyHealth can be a supportive resource for mothers and health plans in their breastfeeding initiatives.
For the mom, breastfeeding produces the hormone oxytocin, which helps the mother’s uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size, and may reduce bleeding after birth. WebMD states that breastfeeding lowers mom’s risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. And, as an added benefit, breastfeeding actually burns extra calories to assist in the reduction of pregnancy weight.
Breastfeeding is a cost-effective method of disease prevention. According to a 2010 study published by Pediatrics, if 90% of US families complied with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the United States would save $13 billion per year. In their study, they conclude that “action to improve breastfeeding rates, duration, and exclusivity could be cost-effective.”
For Health Plans that seek to improve their existing standards and implement breastfeeding programs, ProgenyHealth can be a valuable collaborator.
- ProgenyHealth is a strong advocate for breastfeeding during the family education process, which begins shortly after the baby is born. Our nurses educate and empower mothers so they can make an informed decision about how they want to feed their baby. Progeny’s communication with the family continues throughout the baby’s first year of life.
- ProgenyHealth employs a certified lactation consultant who is available to assist moms meet or exceed their breastfeeding goals.
- Also, ProgenyHealth is a reputable collaborator for breastfeeding programs and other projects that might assist Health Plans with demonstrating Quality Initiatives and/or Continual Quality Improvement.
- Finally, ProgenyHealth is able to assist Health Plans with specialized programs to promote breastfeeding initiatives. For example, one of our BCBS Plan clients created a partnership with a vendor whereby the plan purchases and sends a free breast pump to mothers of NICU infants who register for the ProgenyHealth Program. To date, we’ve sent over 4,000 breast pumps on behalf of one of our clients.
To illustrate, in partnering with one of our clients to promote breastfeeding, we met 2020 Healthy People goals in three categories along with UNICEF’s Baby Friendly standards. Additionally, the results of this program exceeded both state and national averages:
- 20% of breastfeeding moms had no intention of doing so until coached by ProgenyHealth
- 36% of mothers exclusively breastfed for 6 months (versus national average of 16%)
- 84% of mothers of Extremely Low Birth Weight infants exclusively breastfed for 6 months
In closing, breastfeeding offers many positive outcomes to a broad audience. ProgenyHealth can assist its clients with educating their members on the benefits of breastfeeding to both the NICU infant and the mother. Additionally, ProgenyHealth has been a proven partner in supporting health plans with specialized breastfeeding programs and other quality initiatives.
Do you have a breastfeeding program in place?
About Our Author:
Letitia Lieb, MHA is a Strategic Business Executive at ProgenyHealth and focuses on new client implementations and business expansion. She has 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including 16 years with managed care organizations. Letitia has a diverse background with demonstrated successes in relationship management, network development, provider communications, client services, and marketing. She is also an active Board Member with United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia.