Study shows new opportunity to prevent postpartum depression


Tue, 04/26/2022 – 12:09

By Nathaniel Z. Counts, J.D.

In 2019, a major study found that getting the right care can make pregnant individuals less likely to develop postpartum depression. The government now recommends that medical providers offer services, such as Mothers and Babies, to address early warning signs, and most types of health insurance now cover them. The new coverage could be game-changing for families in the U.S. – postpartum depression has huge consequences for birthing individuals and their children, and the chance to reduce the burden could help millions.

Unfortunately, there is still a long road ahead before people can actually access these prevention services. Changing medical practice is expensive, and most providers weren’t trained on how to do prevention. Thus, providers will need financial support to enhance the kinds of care they provide.

In a study recently published in JAMA Network Open, Mental Health America (MHA) and its research partners examined one way of helping providers get financial support to pay for prevention. We tested how much Medicaid would pay if it shared with providers half of the savings it expects over five years from preventing postpartum depression. In this scenario, providers would have to show that they reduced the total number of postpartum depression cases. We found that, under the right conditions, a payment approach like this could offer hundreds of dollars per person and add up to quite a lot – enough to provide strong financial support for preventing postpartum depression.

However, a few Medicaid-related issues stand in the way. First, people frequently change their insurance coverage, such as switching between Medicaid plans. When people switch, the insurance plan that paid upfront for prevention doesn’t get to enjoy all of the savings. Similarly, not all states have made sure that people can stay consistently covered on Medicaid. These issues make prevention harder to pay for because there is less savings for the Medicaid insurer to share with providers.

As states and the federal government come up with plans to pay for mental health and substance use care in new ways, MHA is working to tackle Medicaid-related matters and make postpartum preventive care part of the future. With our approach, providers could get the financial support they need to provide prevention services, and millions of pregnant individuals in the U.S. would get desperately needed better support.

Nathaniel Z. Counts, J.D., is senior vice president of behavioral health innovation at Mental Health America.

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The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
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At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

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Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

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Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

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  • Etc.

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The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

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