Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106
03/14/2014 08:00 AM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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HCR 18-BABY-FRIENDLY HOSPITAL INITIATIVE 8:41:30 AM CHAIR HIGGINS announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 18, Encouraging hospitals and birthing facilities in the state to participate in the Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative and to support breastfeeding; and recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding. 8:42:13 AM REPRESENTATIVE SHELLY HUGHES, Alaska State Legislature, reported that one in nine women suffer from postpartum depression, 34 percent of teenagers were obese, and 120 women out of 100,000, in Alaska, annually develop breast cancer. She declared that these were all associated to the importance for breast feeding. Breast feeding offered "an unmatched beginning for children," and could reduce sudden infant death syndrome, childhood cancers, and diabetes. She stated that mothers who breast fed were healthier, and that there was a savings for health care costs. She relayed that scientists were in agreement that breast milk was the very best way to nourish babies, could reduce the occurrence of ear infection and diabetes in infants by 40 percent, could reduce symptoms of postpartum depression by 50 percent, and could protect babies from some of the effects of pollution. She declared that research had shown that exclusive breast feeding would also naturally space pregnancies. She reported that breast feeding could save $52 million annually in Alaska. She read a short quote from a nurse manager at the maternity outpatient clinic at Providence Alaska Medical Center: "No public health campaign has a farther reaching, positive affect on well-being and longevity." She pointed out that the proposed resolution had a zero fiscal note, with no cost to the families, as well. The resolution simply stated that the Alaska State Legislature recognized the aforementioned benefits and recommended that hospitals and birthing centers attain the baby friendly designation by implementing the ten steps to a successful breast feeding program. She declared that the resolution had the support of many groups, including many hospitals, the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA), the Academy of Nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as many other national organizations. 8:46:46 AM CHAIR HIGGINS asked for an explanation as to how the mechanics for this resolution would work. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES replied that the hospitals all agreed that "it's a good thing." She said that the proposed resolution would be a motivator to be used as a public education tool. CHAIR HIGGINS asked how the proposed resolution would get the word out. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES said that, as a sponsor, she would get it to the hospitals and birthing centers, although it did not technically go to anyone. REPRESENTATIVE HIGGINS asked if her office would distribute the resolution. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES replied that her office would distribute the resolution. 8:48:46 AM REPRESENTATIVE TARR, reporting that she was a co-sponsor of the proposed resolution, cited requirements for employers to provide breaks for women to breast feed under the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act. She encouraged breast feeding and making it easier for working mothers. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES shared an anecdote about a baby on the floor of the House of Representatives. She noted that there was also a reduction of child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence associated with breast feeding. CHAIR HIGGINS reported that the hospitals had encouraged breast feeding for his five children. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES explained that hospitals would not offer formula unless the mother could not breast feed, although substance abuse mothers would not be encouraged to breast feed. REPRESENTATIVE TARR shared that, as often the hospital stay was brief, breast feeding had not yet initiated and required follow- up to establish it successfully. REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES emphasized that breast feeding was a natural resource in the State of Alaska. 8:53:01 AM CHAIR HIGGINS opened public testimony. ALLISON CURRY, regional field organizer, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, said that breast feeding protected "both infants and mothers from a host of chronic and acute diseases and conditions." She offered that Planned Parenthood believed nursing mothers needed to feel comfortable and supported in the effort to provide for children. She recognized the need for strong public policy "that safeguard nursing mothers' rights and allow them to breast feed and express milk at their places of work." She emphasized that health care providers should take larger steps to encourage breast feeding by new mothers. 8:54:30 AM CHAIR HIGGINS closed public testimony. 8:54:40 AM REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to report HCR 18, Version 28- LS0727\O, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal notes. There being no objection, HCR 18 was moved from the House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.