As part of health officials’ continuing effort to improve women’s health, postpartum depression screening is now a Texas Medicaid benefit.
“Postpartum depression meets the same clinical criteria as major depressive disorder, with the main difference being onset during pregnancy or after delivery,” the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) said in an announcement.
Beginning July 1, mothers who take newborns for Texas Health Steps checkups through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be able to receive testing and counseling for themselves.
The policy allows physicians who choose to provide the screening to be paid for one exam per eligible child over a 12-month period. It applies to infants enrolled in both Medicaid managed care and fee-for-service.
- Physicians must discuss positive screening results and develop a referral plan with the mother;
- Screening must be submitted under the infant’s Medicaid client number and will be restricted to children 12 months and younger; and
- Documentation should include any health education or anticipatory guidance provided.
The change comes thanks to House Bill 2466, which was written last session by state Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place) and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2017. The bill helps improve early detection by enabling more health care professionals to screen for maternal depression regardless of whether the mother has insurance. Texas Medical Association advocacy helped push the bill into law.
To help physicians integrate the exams into their well-baby visits, the Texas Health Steps program created an online tutorial, Integrating Postpartum Depression Screening into Routine Infant Medical Checkups.
Further, to address concerns about the challenges of referring women who need treatment for moderate to severe post-partum depression, TMA is working with lawmakers, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and mental health experts to identify ways to make it easier for physicians to identify treatment facilities within their communities.
Find more information, including the appropriate procedure codes and the full screening and documentation guidelines, on the TMHP website.
TMA has been actively working to improve the overall health of new mothers in Texas, including adopting a seven-point plan to end all maternal deaths in the state.
More information and resources to fight maternal mortality and morbidity are on TMA’s website.