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Donor Human Milk in Louisiana

March 08, 2021

When a newborn baby does not have access to a parent’s breastmilk, pasteurized donor human milk is the next best option according to major medical organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Although some nutrients are lost in the pasteurization process, donor milk is still more beneficial than formula. 

To support the use of donor human milk Louisiana Medicaid recently began providing separate reimbursement of its provision to premature or sick infants in the inpatient setting. Coverage is retroactive to August 20, 2020. The Louisiana Department of Health Health Plan Advisory 21-01 details medical necessity criteria and billing procedures. 

Hospitals obtain donor human milk from milk banks accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). Louisiana is fortunate to have the Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist, along with nine milk depots located throughout the state. Depots accept milk from approved screened donors, store it in a freezer and ship it to the milk bank for processing. The depots play an important role in increasing awareness within the community about milk donation and are typically found at locations frequently visited by persons who breastfeed. If your facility is interested in becoming a depot and/or receiving donor human milk for your patient population, contact mothersmilkbank@ochsner.org or call 504-703-6455.

Donor human milk comes from generous volunteers who donate their extra supply to babies who need it. Donors must be screened and pre-approved in order to drop off milk. Shelley Thibeau, director of the Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana stated, “During the pandemic and the especially challenging hurricane season, the milk bank has been fully operational. In 2020, we received 759 gallons of donor milk. We are grateful to the many volunteers who have donated and also to the hospital staff that have gone above and beyond to protect this precious cargo during electrical outages.” To learn how to become a donor, please visit, Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist.

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