New Senate bill would require Michigan pediatricians to offer postpartum mental health screenings to new mothers – State of Reform

A bill recently introduced at the Senate Health and Human Services Policy Committee would require pediatricians in Michigan to offer postpartum mental health screenings to new mothers.

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Senate Bill 1198introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), would require state pediatricians to offer mental health screenings that have been approved or developed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The bill would require pediatricians to offer these screenings until a child reaches 18 months of age within intervals specified by the MDHHS. The bill also requires pediatricians to provide a new mother with ministry-approved or developed mental health resources, and these resources must be provided to the mother no later than 1 month after delivery.

Resources provided to the mother should include a list of postpartum mental health issues and their symptoms, treatment options for these mental health issues, and support systems available for mothers with these issues.

The bill is awaiting its first hearing by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Policy.

The state has undertaken many efforts to support the health and well-being of postpartum Michiganders this year. Earlier this year, CMS approved the state’s request to expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers for a continuous 12-month postpartum period, as part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s action at the statewide. Healthy Moms Healthy Babies Initiative.

“Being able to provide continuity of care for mothers and babies in Michigan is critical to reducing preventable deaths and will lead to better long-term health outcomes for new parents and newborns,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel about the endorsement. “Expanding Medicaid postpartum coverage will help the state in its ongoing efforts to improve access to care for all Michigan families and equitable health outcomes.”

This expanded postpartum coverage includes benefits such as physical and behavioral health services, treatment for substance use disorders, and dental care.

In her Information sheet for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative, Whitmer cites that Detroit’s maternal mortality rate is 3 times the national average and that pregnant black women are more likely to die than non-Hispanic white women. Michigan also ranks 38th in the nation for infant mortality rate.

In terms of mental health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most common pregnancy complications in the country.

According American Health RankingMore than 16% of women who had recently given birth in Michigan reported experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression in 2020, compared to 13.6% of women nationwide.

Whitmer’s strategic plan includes extending Medicaid coverage for postpartum women to a full year, partnering with providers and universities to address health disparities in the state, expanding access to programs home visits to connect more families to services; and expanding access to family planning and contraception that the woman chooses for herself.

Norman D. Briggs