2 State Women’s Health Programs to Consolidate in July

by Alexa Ura,The Texas Tribune | Original publication: Sept. 23, 2015

Four years after they first reconfigured state-subsidized health services for low-income women, Texas health officials are at it again as they consider how to consolidate two of the state’s main women’s health programs.

Following a directive from the Legislature, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Wednesday that it would combine two women’s health programs to create the “Healthy Texas Women” program on July 1. The new initiative will be a consolidation of the Texas Women’s Health Program and the Expanded Primary Health Care Program, which provide health screenings and contraception to poor women in the state.

Under the new program, women between the ages of 15 and 44 who have an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line will qualify for these services, extending eligibility to minors of child-bearing ages who did not previously qualify for these services. (The previous minimum age to qualify was 18.) Health officials noted that minors would need parental consent to receive any care.

Lawmakers, who said the consolidation would improve efficiency, endorsed the move by combining the two programs’ funding in the 2016-17 state budget.

At a Wednesday meeting of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee — a panel of health professionals created by the Legislature to oversee the consolidation — HHSC Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor recognized that the timeline to launch the merged program was “extremely quick,” he but added that Texas would soon be in a position to be a “model for other states.”

This story has been edited for length.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/23/state-womens-health-programs-consolidate-july/.

 

Donating Breastmilk in Austin

Milk Bank doors are women who produce milk in excess of their own babies’ needs and who complete a specials creening process. Babies who receive the breastmilk may be premature or have severe illnesses and need human milk to thrive.

Nationwide, the medical need for donor human milk far surpasses the supply and continues to increase. While the national premature birth rate is 7.6%, among uninsured women in Texas the preterm birth rate is 32%! Increasing preterm birth rates mean an increased need for donor milk in the neonatal intensive care units. Preterm infants are most in need of human milk, yet their moms are the least likely to be able to provide what they need in the earliest days of life. Mothers who have surplus milk can help fill this need and give fragile infants a better chance to grow and thrive.

For example, Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And a recent study shows human milk looks helps, too.

Breastmil Donation

Human milk is best for your baby. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, human milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness. This protection is unmatched by any formula.

Why Donate Breastmilk

While a mother’s own milk is best for her baby, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that if, after consultation with a healthcare provider, one decides to feed her baby with human milk from another source, she should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk.

According to the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), “In situations where a mother’s own milk is not available to meet her baby’s needs, pasteurized donor human milk is the ideal replacement. The use of donor human milk has saved infant lives and positively impacted the health outcomes of countless premature and sick infants through therapy and prevention of disease.”

Mothers Milk Bank

In Austin, the provides donation services. Lifesaving donated breastmilk goes to babies in Texas and all over the United States, providing them with a safe alternative when mom’s own milk is not available. Milk goes to NICUs in hospitals all over the country for premature or ill babies. Milk is given out to families who have already been discharged, but still need some donor milk until the mothers’ own milk comes in.

Your milk will be prescribed to preterm and critically ill babies. To provide the safest milk possible, we require all donor moms to complete a blood test to screen for harmful viruses. The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin covers the cost of these tests.

Researching drugs and breastfeeding

lactmedLactMed is a free online database of resources covering toxicology, chemical safety, and environmental health. Geared to the healthcare practitioner and nursing mother, LactMed contains over 450 drug records. was developed by a pharmacist who is an expert in this subject. Three other recognized authorities serve as the database’s scientific review panel. Ancillary resources, such as a glossary of terms related to drugs and lactation, and breastfeeding links are also offered. It includes information such as maternal levels in breast milk, infant levels in blood, potential effects in breastfeeding infants and on lactation itself, the American Academy of Pediatrics category indicating the level of compatibility of the drug with breastfeeding, and alternate drugs to consider.

Mom Resources

Bump Club and Beyond is committed to connecting the moms and moms-to-be in our communities with the best products, resources, experts and most importantly, with each other.

Babywearing International of Greater Austin works to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice, with benefits for both child and caregiver, through education and support.

Huggies – Imagine having to cut back on basic necessities such as food and shelter so your baby can have diapers. Huggies® created the Every Little Bottom program to help provide diapers to babies in need. Since the program’s beginning over 130 million diapers have been donated, and countless lives have been touched.

Image from via Facebook

Neighborhood Parenting

Partners in Parenting is a new non-profit in Austin that provides neighborhood-based programs to help parents of newborns and infants to create tight-knit communities. Our groups enable families to meet the challenges of parenting through mutual support and shared information. comes with a wide range of emotions and experiences — from triumphs and elation, to fear and loneliness. Many parents expect the highs and the happiness but are often caught off-guard when feelings of insecurity and isolation creep in. It’s a time when, more than ever, a support system is needed. Unfortunately, that support system is not always easy to come by. That’s where your PIP group comes in!

Midwifery in Austin

Texans for Midwifery-Austin is a consumer-based group working to inform families, the medical community and decision-makers about midwives and midwifery care. TfM-Austin educates members of the state legislature, city council, and local hospital administrators about the value of The Midwives Model of Care©, and how to make this kind of care accessible to all women. Our goals have been to remove barriers to midwifery care at local hospitals and to protect access to out-of-hospital birth with midwives.

Locating Doulas in Austin

Central Texas Doula Association aims to raise awareness about the role of doulas, provide a listing of local doulas, maintain high standards and ethics within our profession and support doulas by providing continuing education, professional development and a peer network. Through their website, you can locate birth and postpartum doulas that have agreed to the organization’s Standards of Practice and Ethics Statements and are bound to those agreements upon membership. CTDA doulas receive continuing education, professional support, and share community resources through our organization. CTDA doulas come from varying backgrounds, training, and experience levels, but they do share the same mission in caring for families in the perinatal period.

Austin newborn and infant parenting

babies - Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.netPartners in Parenting is a non-profit in Austin that provides neighborhood-based programs to help parents of newborns and infants to create tight-knit communities. Our groups enable families to meet the challenges of parenting through mutual support and shared information. Early parenthood comes with a wide range of emotions and experiences — from triumphs and elation, to fear and loneliness. Many parents expect the highs and the happiness but are often caught off-guard when feelings of insecurity and isolation creep in. It’s a time when, more than ever, a support system is needed. Unfortunately, that support system is not always easy to come by. That’s where your PIP group comes in! Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net