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Maternity Leaflet Must Include Additional Reporting Next Year

The Department of Health (DOH), beginning in 2010, will require maternity hospitals to include new information in the Maternity Information Leaflet (MIL) that hospitals provide to all new mothers. New required information includes the percent of infants breastfed at the hospital, the percent of infants exclusively breastfed, and the number of instances in which breast milk is supplemented with formula. The new reporting measures are part of a broader initiative launched recently by DOH to promote and to highlight the importance of breastfeeding among new and expectant mothers.

Hospital administrators received a letter in late August indicating that DOH would begin sharing with each hospital its most recent available data on hospital-specific breastfeeding practices. The data are collected in the DOH birth certificate supplement and the New York City birth certificate medical report. Hospitals will have an opportunity to review and evaluate the data before they are added to the MIL.

Information on infants cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit will not be included in the data.

Hospitals outside of New York City will be required to include their performance on these measures in the MIL beginning May 1, 2010; New York City hospitals will be expected to begin reporting on their performance on January 1, 2011.

DOH will also review maternity hospital policies and practices related to promoting and supporting breastfeeding. DOH plans to use that information to develop training and technical assistance for providers to further encourage and support breastfeeding-friendly policies.

Commissioner of Health Richard F. Daines, M.D., and other stakeholders, including HANYS, asked hospitals and other health care providers in a September letter to join them in an ongoing effort to promote breastfeeding. The letter highlights the benefits of breastfeeding and refers hospitals to the guidelines established by the UNICEF/World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiatives and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HANYS will continue to communicate with DOH on this issue and keep members informed as the DOH initiative progresses. Contact: Christa Christakis

Published September 18, 2009