TennCare Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week by Announcing New Breastfeeding Benefits for Members

Tuesday, August 01, 2023 | 02:20pm

[Nashville, TN] - TennCare, the state of Tennessee's Medicaid program, joins in commemorating World Breastfeeding Week by announcing the implementation of enhanced breastfeeding supports for members. This initiative, aimed at promoting maternal health and supporting breastfeeding mothers, is a significant step towards ensuring the well-being of families across the state. The new lactation supports are a part of Governor Lee’s Strong Families Initiative, which is made possible by the additional $300 million in shared savings through the TennCare III waiver.

World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated annually from August 1-7, serves as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of both infants and mothers. In alignment with this purpose, TennCare has expanded its lactation benefits program to provide comprehensive support to eligible members. The enhanced benefits will facilitate access to lactation services and resources, making it easier for mothers to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Key features of the new lactation benefits program include:

1. Lactation Consultants: TennCare members will have access to a network of qualified lactation consultants who can provide expert guidance, support, and education to mothers during their breastfeeding journey. These professionals will offer personalized assistance tailored to individual needs, helping to address challenges and ensure successful breastfeeding experiences. (Note, this benefit is for outpatient services. Lactation consults can occur both before and after delivery.)

2. Breast Pump Coverage: Breast pumps are essential tools that enable mothers to express and store breast milk, maintain or increase one’s supply, and ensure a continuous supply even when they are away from their infants. TennCare covers a variety of electric breast pumps including hospital-grade breast pumps when medically necessary.

3. Lactation Supplies: TennCare recognizes the importance of lactation supplies for successful breastfeeding and covers breast-pump related supplies such as bottle, tubing, and more.

In line with these developments, TennCare has established partnerships with a network of dedicated lactation providers across the state. “I am excited to be part of TennCare's efforts to expand support for breastfeeding mothers and their infants through this valuable program. This initiative allows lactation consultants, including myself, to receive reimbursement for providing crucial assistance to women in need,” said Gloria Dudney (RN, IBCLC, RLC), Director of Lactation Services for ETSU Health. These providers are committed to offering compassionate care and evidence-based lactation support to TennCare members.

"We are thrilled to introduce these comprehensive lactation benefits for our TennCare members," said Dr. Jona Bandyopadhyay, TennCare’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and OB/GYN. "Breastfeeding is a vital component of maternal and infant health, and these enhanced benefits will help ensure that our members have the necessary resources and support to make informed choices and successfully breastfeed their infants."

TennCare is committed to improving the health of its members, and the expansion of lactation benefits is a testament to this commitment. By prioritizing maternal health and breastfeeding support, TennCare is fostering a healthier future for Tennessee families.

For detailed information about the benefits, members are encouraged to contact their respective health plan. Interested providers can access additional information by visiting the following link: [https://www.tn.gov/tenncare/providers/programs-and-facilities/maternal-health/lactation-providers.html].