Promoting Postpartum Behavioral Health Screening
“Opportunities exist to improve care coordination for pregnant and postpartum women. It is necessary to explore models of care that are inclusive of behavioral health services. Improving risk screening is vital for early recognition and management of maternal risk factors that lead to mortality and morbidity.”Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
Joint Biennial Report, 2018
More than half of deliveries in Texas are covered by Medicaid. Women who receive Medicaid benefits during pregnancy are covered until the last day of the month that includes the 60th day after delivery. Eligible women are automatically enrolled in the Healthy Texas Women program when their Medicaid coverage ends. Primary care providers, including pediatricians, are encouraged to address common behavioral health conditions during this postpartum period.
Screening for postpartum depression (PPD) during routine infant checkups is one recommended strategy. Texas Health Steps provides separate reimbursement for conducting maternal PPD screening using a validated tool during a Texas Health Steps medical checkup birth through the infant’s first birthday. Reimbursement is available to Texas Health Steps providers once per infant. A mother whose screen is positive should be referred for additional evaluation and treatment.
PPD screening by pediatricians is an example of integrated behavioral health care, which addresses factors that contribute to postpartum mortality and morbidity in primary care.
“This care may address mental health and substance [use] conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic medical illnesses), life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.”Integrated Behavioral Health Care Measures Atlas (2013)
Many postpartum deaths are preventable. Routine risk screening in the months after delivery is key to addressing behavioral and social factors a mother may be experiencing so they don’t interfere with her health and ability to care for her baby.
Why It Matters
Prioritizing behavioral health care can reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and promote good health for Texas mothers and babies. Check out the related courses to learn more.
Integrating Postpartum Depression Screening into Routine Infant Medical Checkups
Postpartum Health: Screening and Intervention
About Texas Health Steps
Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses for primary care providers and other health professionals. These courses offer updated clinical, regulatory, and best practice guidelines for a range of preventive health, oral health, mental health, and case management topics.