Sponsors include Lampitt, Mosquera, Vainieri Huttle, Jasey & Giblin
(TRENTON) – Two Assembly Democrat-sponsored bills concerning the regulation of human milk banks were individually given unanimous approval in an Assembly committee on Thursday.
The first bill (A-1442) –sponsored by Assembly members Pamela Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Mila Jasey and Tom Giblin — provides for licensure of human milk banks.
Human Milk Banks, under the bill, is an organized service for the selection of a donor of human breast milk, the collection, processing, storage, and marketing of donated human breast milk, and the distribution of donated human breast milk to a hospital for a specific use.
“Human milk banks distribute donated breast milk to help low birth weight babies or directly to a parent who is unable to breastfeed,” said Lampitt (D- Camden, Burlington). “It is important that guidelines be established for breast milk donations to ensure the safety of babies receiving donated breast milk.”
Specifically, the bill requires that a person, partnership, association, agency, organization or other similar type entity be licensed by the Department of Health in order to operate a human milk bank in the state. A copy of the license would be required to be displayed on the premises.
“This legislation helps to ensure the process and safety of human milk donations in New Jersey,” said Mosquera (D-). “Presently, only four states have regulations for human milk backs — California, Maryland, New York and Texas. This bill aligns New Jersey with national efforts to provide licensure for milk banks.”
“The demand for donations and the service provided by human milk banks has grown substantially over the years,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-). “Human milk donations are also saving lives of babies in need of the nutrients breast milk provides. With this bill, we can ensure Human Milk Banks are operating within the guidelines set by our state Department of Health.”
“There are only a few human milk banks operating in the United States,” said Jasey (D-). “As the industry continues to grow, the need for regulation of these operations within the state becomes more and more essential to ensuring safety and quality of the donations.”
“Human milk banks are not regulated in New Jersey,” said Giblin (D-). “If enacted, this bill would make New Jersey one of five states who have taken steps to protect families, children and donors that use Human Milk Banks. Establishing regulation for the industry is the best next step for New Jersey.”
The bill would also give DOH the authority to license and inspect the property including an inspection of records, files and other data, and requires the commissioner devise rules and regulations for the operations and maintenance of human milk banks. It would also require human milk banks to be operated in accordance with protocols set by the state Department of Health.
A-1442 was released on Thursday by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.
The second bill (A-1470) — sponsored by Assemblywoman Lampitt — requires health benefits coverage for donated human milk under certain conditions. The bill was released on Thursday by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
“For any product in a high-demand industry, costs run high. Currently, human milk breast milk can cost a family up to $4 an ounce,” continued Lampitt, who is chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee. “Mothers are turning to the internet to find breast milk at a cost they can afford. Without regulation in place for Human Milk Banks, mothers have no way of knowing if the milk being purchased is certified or meets the quality of standards it should.
“Requiring health benefits coverage will help us to better ensure that mothers, who not produce it themselves, have access to breast milk that meets the standards of quality their infants deserve.”
Lampitt’s bill requires health insurers to provide health benefits coverage for any expenses incurred in the provision of donated human breast milk provided that:
1) The covered person is an infant under the age of six months;
2) A physician prescribes the milk for the covered person; and
3) The milk is obtained from a human milk bank that meets quality guidelines established by the Department of Health, or that is licensed by the Department of Health.
The bill lists health, hospital and medical service corporations, commercial individual and group health insurers, health maintenance organizations, health benefits plans issued pursuant to the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage and Small Employer Health Benefits Programs, the State Health Benefits Program under health insurers’ provided for in this bill.
Both bills will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.