Weekly Wire: May 14, 2021

Weekly Wire: May 14, 2021

The Staying Abreast: Weekly Wire e-Newsletter is a compendium of news, actions, and resources considered to be of interest or relevance to the breastfeeding field. The newsletter aims to support the USBC mission "To drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States." Included items are submitted for consideration or identified by the USBC e-news team via extensive online review. Whenever possible, the newsletter utilizes language directly from the primary source of an item without additional analysis or edits. In some cases, the USBC offers additional perspectives through the "USBC Insights," media and partner highlights, and the "News & Views" section. Inclusion of an item in the e-newsletter does not imply endorsement or support by the USBC of an item or organization, unless specifically noted.

In this Issue:

  • USBC Updates
    • Action Alert: Urge Congress to Support Breastfeeding Policy Priorities
    • Find Upcoming USBC Member Events All In One Place!
    • USBC Supports...
  • Special Section on the PUMP Act
  • International News
    • Report on Global Midwife Shortage, summarized from UNFPA/WHO/ICM
  • National News
    • House Report on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, summarized from Congress
    • Independent Contractor Rule Withdrawn, summarized from WHD
    • Hearing on FY22 Budget for HHS, summarized from Congress
    • Report on Underfunding of Public Health System, summarized from TFAH
    • Public Comment Opportunity on Proposed Changes to Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, summarized from CMS
    • Public Comment Opportunity on WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study, summarized from FNS
  • State and Community News
    • Funding Announcement for Advocacy for BIPOC Families, summarized from KBC
    • Paid Leave for Federal Workers Signed into Law, summarized from Georgia
    • Bill Introduced to Expand Lactation Accommodations in the Workplace, summarized from Connecticut
  • Equity Lens
    • Webinar on Impact of Racism on Maternal and Infant Health, summarized from NPWF/NBEC
  • News & Views

 MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg denotes a USBC member organization news item  CollectiveImpact.jpg denotes a USBC-affiliated constellation news item

USBC Updates

Action Alert: Urge Congress to Support Breastfeeding Policy Priorities

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee launched a new action tool titled "Urge Congress to Support Breastfeeding During the 117th Congress." Individuals can use the tool to contact their members of Congress, welcoming them to the congressional session and urging action on the field's breastfeeding policy priorities.

As Congress addresses national challenges during this session, families are counting on them to consider the role that human milk feeding plays in providing long-lasting health protections that contribute to significant public health cost savings. 146 organizations from across the country have signed on to a joint letter urging Congress to take action on this session's breastfeeding policy priorities: federal funding for breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding in emergencies, paid family and medical leave, access to breastfeeding support and supplies, and maternity care practices. USBC leadership is sharing this organizational letter with legislators during Congressional office visits throughout the week and we need your help to amplify these critical priorities. By speaking together, we can create lasting change for families: take action today

Find Upcoming USBC Member Events All In One Place!

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee hosts an Events Calendar with upcoming events related to human milk feeding and lactation hosted by our extensive network of USBC member organizations. Events include online trainings, virtual conferences, and more! Member organizations are encouraged to submit free or paid events and conferences to be featured on the Events Calendar.

USBC Supports...

The USBC joined the following organizational sign on letter from the field:

Special Section on the PUMP Act

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110) was introduced in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, passed in 2010, provided critical protections to ensure that employees have reasonable break time and a private place to pump during the work day. However, nearly one in four women of childbearing age are excluded from coverage and have no clear right to break time and space. The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would expand coverage of the Break Time law to cover all workers and ensure that employees have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

International News

Report on Global Midwife Shortage, summarized from UNFPA/WHO/ICM

The United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and the International Confederation of Midwives published a report titled "The State of the World's Midwifery 2021." The report presents findings on the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health workforce from 194 countries, noting a global shortage of 900,000 midwives. The report lifts up the role midwives play in promoting breastfeeding and supporting mothers and families in infant care. 

National News

House Report on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, summarized from Congress

The House Education and Labor Committee has released "H. Rept. 117-27 - Pregnant Workers Fairness Act." The House Report states that the committee reports favorably on the bill and recommends that the bill as amended is passed. The PWFA would help eliminate discrimination and promote women's health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues" states that lactation is a pregnancy-related medical condition. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065) is scheduled for a floor vote. Partner highlights include:

Independent Contractor Rule Withdrawn, summarized from WHD

The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division posted a final publication of the withdrawal of the rule titled Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule was initially published January 7, 2021, and would have provided a new generally applicable interpretation of employee or independent contractor status under the FLSA. The notice from WHD includes reasoning for the withdrawal rule, which includes concerns raised in comments by the National Women's Law Center that breastfeeding employees could lose employer-provided lactation accommodations and break time to pump breast milk at work.

Hearing on FY22 Budget for HHS, summarized from Congress

The House Committee on Energy & Commerce held a hearing titled "The Fiscal Year 2022 HHS Budget" on Wednesday, May 12. The hearing discussed funding requests for the U.S. Department of Health and Human services during the ongoing Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations process. Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) highlighted the need to increase funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in his opening statement.

USBC Insight: Each year funding is allocated to a variety of federally funded programs that include breastfeeding support through the federal appropriations process. Funding relevant to the breastfeeding field are primarily included in the Labor-HHS and Agriculture appropriations bills. 

Report on Underfunding of Public Health System, summarized from TFAH

Trust for America's Health published a report titled "The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America's Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2021." The publication examines federal, state, and local public health funding trends and recommends investments and policy actions to build a stronger public health system, prioritize prevention, and address the ways in which social and economic inequities create barriers to good health. The report specifically highlights the need for the public health system to be ready to prevent and respond to a spectrum of risks, from natural disasters to chronic disease issues.

USBC Insight: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant gaps in our national capacity to coordinate infant and young child feeding in emergencies, destabilized maternity care practices that impact breastfeeding initiation, and deepened known disparities. As we continue to grapple with COVID-19 and its variants, recovery efforts must adapt to a population experiencing substantially higher stress levels, inactivity, and an ever-expanding obesity epidemic. Take action with the USBC to support increased funding for the CDC Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding program.

Public Comment Opportunity on Proposed Changes to Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, summarized from CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a proposed rule titled "Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and Fiscal Year 2022 Rates." The rule proposes a range of updates to Medicare payment systems and program requirements. The rule proposes removing the Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding (PC-05) measure beginning with the CY 2024 reporting period/FY 2026 payment determination, and adding a new Maternal Morbidity Structural Measure focused on determining hospital participation in a State or national Perinatal Quality Improvement (QI) Collaborative initiative and implementation of patient safety practices or bundles within that QI initiative, which includes breastfeeding. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, June 28.

Public Comment Opportunity on WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study, summarized from FNS

The Food and Nutrition Service opened a public comment opportunity on proposed information collection for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices 2 Study (ITFPS-2). The proposed collection includes extending the current cohort of study participants for an additional interview at nine years of age. Comments can be submitted online, through fax, or mailed. The deadline to submit comments is Tuesday, July 6.

State and Community News

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Funding Announcement for Advocacy for BIPOC Families, summarized from KBC

The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition received a $300,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. KBC's projects will include advocating for state and federal policies to support the optimal health and well-being of families of Hispanic, Black, and other communities of color in Kansas during the first 1,000 days of a pregnancy through a child's second birthday. 

Paid Leave for Federal Workers Signed into Law, summarized from Georgia

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law HB 146, which will provide three weeks of paid parental leave for state employees in Georgia, including employees of local boards of education, for the birth of a child, adoption, or foster placement. Media and partner highlights include:

Bill Introduced to Expand Lactation Accommodations in the Workplace, summarized from Connecticut

Representative Robyn Porter introduced HB 5158 in the Connecticut General Assembly. The bill would expand upon current Connecticut legislation by requiring employers to provide a private location with access to cold storage and an electrical outlet for mothers to express milk. The bill has passed out of the Connecticut House. Read the press release.

Equity Lens

Webinar on Impact of Racism on Maternal and Infant Health, summarized from NPWF/NBEC

The National Partnership for Women and Families and National Birth Equity Collaborative are hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m. ET titled "Saving the Lives of Moms & Babies Addressing Racism and Socioeconomic Influencers." This webinar is the launch of a ten-part series on factors that affect maternal and infant health and recommendations to address them.

News & Views

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Amplify (USLCA blog): "The Nomadic Lactation Consultant: The Life of a Military Lactation Professional"

FOX 23 News: "Tulsa NICU offers live stream service for parents to see babies from home"

Healio: "Nearly 40% of women change breastfeeding plans because of childbirth experiences"

KATC: "First Black-owned freestanding birth center in state opening soon in Lafayette"

Marie Claire: "Paid Leave for All Is Necessary for Our Country to Recover"

Representative Lauren Underwood press release: "Underwood's Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Maternal Health Care for Veterans Advances in the House of Representatives"

Time: "The Invisible Labor Inside America's Lactation Rooms"

WBRC: "New lactation room for Birmingham City Hall employees"

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