NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — TennCare announced enhanced breastfeeding supports
for members, including lactation consultants and supplies.
The new lactation supports are part of Governor Bill Lee’s Strong Families Initiative, which was made possible by an additional $300 million in shared savings through the TennCare III waiver.
Key features of the new lactation benefits program include:
- Lactation Consultants: TennCare members will have access to a network of qualified
lactation consultants who can provide expert guidance, support, and education to mothers
during their breastfeeding journey. These professionals will offer personalized assistance
tailored to individual needs, helping to address challenges and ensure successful
breastfeeding experiences. (Note, this benefit is for outpatient services. Lactation consults
can occur both before and after delivery.)
- Breast Pump Coverage: Breast pumps are essential tools that enable mothers to express
and store breast milk, maintain or increase one’s supply, and ensure a continuous supply
even when they are away from their infants. TennCare covers a variety of electric breast
pumps including hospital-grade breast pumps when medically necessary.
- Lactation Supplies: TennCare recognizes the importance of lactation supplies for successful
breastfeeding and covers breast-pump related supplies such as bottle, tubing, and more.
“We are thrilled to introduce these comprehensive lactation benefits for our TennCare members,”
said Dr. Jona Bandyopadhyay, TennCare’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and OB/GYN. “Breastfeeding is a vital component of maternal and infant health, and these enhanced benefits will help ensure that our members have the necessary resources and support to make informed choices and successfully breastfeed their infants.”
This year’s budget includes expanding TennCare to underserved parents. State officials said this would support an extra 8,100 parents each year. They also plan to make Tennessee’s post-partum coverage benefit permanent, saying it would ensure a full year of TennCare coverage to support approximately 3,000 new mothers every year.
The governor’s budget included establishing continuous coverage for children, ensuring no lapse in coverage for children for at least a year, which will help an estimated 10,000 children remain enrolled.
The $330 million in shared savings under our first-in-the-nation TennCare Medicaid waiver will help provide for the health of mothers and infants in our most vulnerable communities, providing care at no additional burden to Tennessee taxpayers that will:
- Cover the cost of diapers during the first two years of a baby’s life for mothers on TennCare, becoming the first state in the nation to support parents in this way
- Expand TennCare to underserved parents, supporting an extra 8,100 parents each year
- Establish continuous coverage for children, ensuring no lapse in coverage for children for at least a year, which will help an estimated 10,000 children remain enrolled
- Make permanent Tennessee’s post-partum coverage benefit, ensuring a full year of TennCare coverage to support approximately 3,000 new mothers every year
- Adjust TennCare’s income threshold for pregnant women to 250% of the federal poverty level to cover an additional 2,400 new mothers in need every year
- $20 million for Crisis Pregnancy Provider Support Grants to support crisis pregnancy non-profits, improving access to healthcare and information for expecting mothers
- $10.25 million for TN Fosters Hope grant funding to elevate high quality care for children and families impacted by foster care and adoption, allowing providers to expand services to foster and adoptive families
- $29 million to expand programming for children with complex or special needs that face challenges being placed in a traditional foster or adoptive home by further developing the provider network and providing respite and long-term care