By Jak Burke
A wonderful new service for mothers has just arrived, on the Upper West Side and in Irvington in Westchester County. More drop-offs are in the works. New York Milk Bank uses donated milk from lactating mothers and provides it to infants in neo-natal intensive care units (NICUs).
Currently all the breast milk that flows into New York State hospitals is pasteurized and screened through Ohio and Massachusetts. The program already has 60 women participating. The women are all screened and therefore eligible to donate milk safely. The New York Milk Bank does not pay mothers for their milk. The organization is hoping that by Mother’s Day (2016) they can fund-raise enough money to open up a permanent processing center, meaning that ALL donated milk stays in New York state.
The demand for donor milk is increasing as evidence supporting health benefits for premature and sick infants emerges. It is estimated that New York will need 200,000 ounces of milk per year just to meet the needs of the smallest premature infants. Out-of-state banks cannot meet the increasing demand. The New York Milk Bank will provide milk immediately to those in need. A local milk bank providing milk to New York babies is urgently needed.
Is there a local milk bank in New York to purchase milk?
Yes, but it is not a comprehensive processing facility. Hudson Valley Breastfeeding dispenses pasteurized donor milk from their office. It is available immediately. A prescription is required.
Please call 914-231-5065.
How can hospitals order donor milk?
Until the New York Milk Bank officially opens, please call:
• Ohio Health Milk Bank – 614.566.0630
• Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast – 617.527.6263
Do hospitals require a tissue bank license in New York?
Yes. In New York, donor milk is considered a tissue. Hospitals in New York must have a tissue bank license that includes human milk. This is easily obtained from the New York State Department of Health.
Who should I call in the Department of Health?
The Tissue Resource Program at (518) 485-5341.
Can I find information online?
• Yes. The forms required are the NY State DOH-2973
Is there a fee for a license?
Who pays for donor milk?
That depends. If the hospital orders milk and it is delivered to the hospital, they pay for it. If the parents order donor milk and deliver it to the unit, the parents pay for it.
Do insurance companies pay for donor milk?
If the parents pay for donor milk, the hospital will help to submit a claim to the insurer along with a letter of medical necessity. In some cases parents have been reimbursed.
Does New York Medicaid pay for donor milk?
Not currently. Perhaps they will in the future.
Can a hospital use a bottle of donor milk for multiple recipients?
Yes. One bottle may be used for more than one infant in the same way that a medication can be used for more than one patient.
Get involved! http://www.nymilkbank.org/