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What is Charitable Care?

Charitable care means different things to different people. For some it is associated with shame and guilt; for others, hope, gratitude and relief.

At Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin, charitable can mean life.

MMBA is in the midst of our month-long end-of-year fundraising campaign. This is not to fund a building, conduct research, or pay anyone’s salary. It’s a campaign to support our Charitable Care Program, in place since the Milk Bank’s founding in 1999. It enables us to provide donor milk to all infants with a medical need for milk without regard to their insurance coverage or family financial resources.

Let me explain. MMBA expends substantial resources recruiting milk donors and processing their milk to make it safe for vulnerable babies. For inpatient infants our costs are reimbursed by hospitals, but some fragile babies are sent home from the hospital still medically dependent on donor human milk. MMBA continues to provide the milk, even though insurance companies very rarely cover the cost. Most of these babies have been approved for Medicaid coverage, but Medicaid reimburse only a fraction of the cost –- typically 35 cents on the dollar and no Federal Express shipping charges. Why do we have to ship if we are the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin? Because we are one of the few milk banks in the country with a charitable care program, so babies are referred to us for care from all over the U.S. MMBA accepts Medicaid clients, and therefore, we accept the partial payment and send no bill to the family. Private insurance carriers and Tricare have even worse rates, most often reimbursing none of our costs. Families without insurance coverage file an application for Charitable Care, but if they have a medically needy infant, we don’t refuse them the milk.

How can Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin afford to provide Charitable Care? 

We turn to you, the community, corporations and foundations, for donations. In 2018, MMBA provided more than $300,000 worth of donor milk to outpatients whose families could not afford to pay. We’ve drawn from reserves meant to sustain our operations in order to do this. Now we turn to you. The families below are only a few of those saved through donor milk and donor generosity.

Won’t you consider helping us to save the next one?

Camilla was born at 26 weeks’ gestation. Donor human milk saved her life.

Charlotte was full term, but suffered a traumatic brain injury at 11 months. Donor human milk helped her to recover.

Liam needed new kidneys, and to stabilize on dialysis before they were available. Donor human milk helped him do that.

David was born at 38 weeks, but weighed just slightly more than 2 pounds