State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest Joins CHA and Diaper Bank in Call for Medicaid Coverage for Diapers

From left: Dr. Megan Smith, Senior Director of Community Health Transformation at CHA; Senator Matt Lesser, Senate Chair of the Human Services Committee; Senator Ceci Maher; Representative Jillian Gilchrest, House Chair of the Human Services Committee; Representative Anne Hughes; Representative Mary Fortier; Janet Stolfi Alfano, Executive Director of the Diaper Bank of Connecticut;, and Maurice Edwards, a father of two and recipient of diapers through Yale-New Haven Hospital. Courtesy photo

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest of West Hartford was joined by representatives of healthcare organizations to call for action to reduce diaper insecurity. 

By Ronni Newton

Diaper insecurity is a very real thing, and access to this basic necessity has a health impact for both mothers and children, state Rep. Jillian Gilchrest said Tuesday as she was joined with representatives of the Diaper Bank of Connecticut, Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), and Nurturing Families Network at Day Kimball Healthcare to advocate for covering diapers through Medicaid.

A public hearing had been scheduled Tuesday for House Bill #6587, which seeks to provide Medicaid coverage, to the extent permissible under federal law, for diapers. The hearing was canceled due to internet problems at the capitol, and will be rescheduled.

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford) speaks at a press conference on Feb. 21, 2023. Courtesy photo

Gilchrest, House chair of the Human Services Committee, said nearly one in three families struggle to afford diapers to keep their babies clean, dry, and healthy. Diaper insecurity is also associated with postpartum depressive symptoms and high rates of diaper rash for infants, she added.

“When a family lacks access to diapers it impacts their health and well-being,” Gilchrest said. “We have an opportunity to expand access and improve health conditions for a mom and her child. I am excited to see how many more families we can support by having Medicaid cover diapers.”

“Since 2004, the Diaper Bank of Connecticut has been leading efforts to increase access to diapers for families in need across the state,” Executive Director Janet Stolfi Alfano said. “We’ve distributed well over 30 million diapers and yet there is even more unmet need. Ensuring diapers are covered under Medicaid is a logical next step, given the significant negative health outcomes and associated costs related to not having an adequate supply.”

“Even with their tremendous work they’re only scratching the surface,” Gilchrest said. Making diapers an eligible medical expense for coverage through Medicaid could expand the reach, and could help Connecticut build upon the work of community organizations and programs like Diaper Connections. That network was launched through a partnership between CHA, the state’s 27 acute care hospitals, the Diaper Bank of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Housing, and works to “improve the health of families by preventing adverse maternal and child health conditions associated with diaper need.”

Selina A. Osei, director of Health Equity and Community Engagement at CHA, said Diaper Connections launched two months ago and has already provided diapers to more than 500 infants and 100 toddlers.

“More can be done to further increase access,” she said in a statement. “We strongly support this forward-looking proposal to address diaper insecurity through Medicaid coverage for diapers thereby advancing maternal and child health across the state.”

More information about the legislation can be found on CTNewsJunkie.com, and you can also indicate your support of opposition to the measure.

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »