Breastfeeding Medicine

Physicians blogging about breastfeeding

Author Archive

The Redbook Controversy

with 15 comments

Erin Ruddy (“No, you don’t have to breastfeedingRedbook, May 2010) correctly points out that breastfeeding mothers all too often encounter serious obstacles to successfully breastfeeding their infants.   A more productive approach to this problem, however, would have been to identify what those obstacles are and try to eliminate them, rather than simply to launch into a pointless tirade against the practice of breastfeeding, and those who support it.   Nothing productive can be gained by such an exercise. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gcalnen

May 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

Breastfeeding Promotion and the Electronic Medical Record

leave a comment »

By now, most physicians have come to acknowledge that the electronic health record (EHR) is an idea whose day has come.   Until recently, each physician (or group of physicians) had hoped to move at his or her own pace in making the necessary accomodations.   With the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), however, there is some measure of urgency in making the conversion to the EHR.

Under HITECH, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been directed to implement incentive payment programs for the “meaningful use” of EHR technology.   In order to qualify as meaningful users, hospitals and providers must meet three requirements.   The first is to utilize certified EHR technology in a manner condducive to appropriate care (for example, electronic prescribing).   Second, the adopted technology must be capable of exchanging information with other IT systems so as to enhance the quality of care.

Finally, by means of such technology, the user must be able to provide to the government information related to clinical quality measures.   An integral part of this process is to be able to capture data relevant to the prevention and treatment of disease, and to the optimization of health.   Equally important is the collection of health-related data for research purposes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gcalnen

May 10, 2010 at 11:39 am

Posted in In the news

Breastfeeding Promotion and Health Care Reform

with one comment

In the United States, breastfeeding support may have gotten an urgently needed boost from the recently passed health care reform package.   Underlying the package is a tacit acknowledgement that health care consists of much more than simply treating illnesses and caring for injuries; its primary objectives are the prevention of diseases and the optimization of health.   Preserving health is not only the right thing to do; economically, it’s also the smartest thing to do.   In an attempt to keep down the cost of caring for patients afflicted with life-threatening and chronic diseases, the United States Government has chosen to make a significant investment in preventive health measures.

Thus it is that, effective October of this year, all new health insurance policies will be required to cover preventive health services, with no out-of-pocket expenses accruing to the consumer.   The cost of the policy will cover all preventive health benefits (New York Times, April 9, 2010).   The specific services to be covered will be determined by the rating system of the United States Preventive Services Task Force; insurance policies will be required to cover all A- and B-rated services.  

This should be a real boon for those of us who have dedicated a significant portion of our professional lives to breastfeeding support and promotion.   The most recent estimates are that $13 billion dollars could be saved every year if there were to be 90% compliance with the recommendation that all infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (Bartick and Reinhold. Pediatrics. 2010; 125(5):e1048-e1055).   It would be hard to imagine any other preventive health intervention that could offer such impressive savings.   To a degree, the health care reform package almost seems to have been fashioned with breastfeeding promotion in mind.  

But there are a few glitches. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gcalnen

April 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Posted in In the news, policy