PHFE-WIC Provides Key Testimony at Congressional Hearing

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The Public Health Foundation Enterprises Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, (PHFE-WIC), provided compelling testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor in support of strenghtening federal child nutrition programs.

I am compelled to ask you to work collaboratively with your colleagues in Congress to pass legislation that requires all hospitals that receive Medicaid funds adhere, at a minimum, to a set of model policies that do not sabotage breastfeeding, and at best initiate steps to become a Baby Friendly Hospital

Earlier this month the PHFE-WIC program provided compelling testimony to the Committee on Education and Labor of the United States House of Representatives, Chaired by Congressman George Miller of California.

The PHFE-WIC testimony was provided by Kiran Saluja the Deputy Director of the PHFE-WIC program.

Ms. Saluja noted that PHFE-WIC serves approximately 326,350 participants each month in Los Angeles and Orange County California, making it the largest local WIC agency in the US.

The PHFE-WIC testimony focused on reducing barriers to breast feeding, including;

  • Maintaining the enhanced value of the fully breastfeeding food package
  • Maintaining funding for evaluations of WIC including impact of breastfeeding and food package changes
  • Supporting the Breastfeeding Performance Bonus, and considering a state's proportion of fully breastfeed infants in any award of performance bonuses.

In addition, Ms. Saluja said that, "The Committee should give states the option to certify WIC eligible children for up to one year to allow frontline staff to provide direct services rather than doing burdensome paperwork."

A key focus of Ms. Saluja's testimony was on what she characterized as "breastfeeding-broken" hospitals.
"I am compelled to ask you to work collaboratively with your colleagues in Congress to pass legislation that requires all hospitals that receive Medicaid funds adhere, at a minimum, to a set of model policies that do not sabotage breastfeeding, and at best initiate steps to become a Baby Friendly Hospital," Ms. Saluja said.

Ms. Saluja also endorsed funding for peer counselors and encouraged support and funding for other breastfeeding friendly policies and practices.

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Mark J. Bertler
PHFE
562 222 7895
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