News & Updates

Report: Medicaid Plans Move on Maternal Depression, Anxiety

October 31, 2018

Report: Medicaid Plans Move on Maternal Depression, Anxiety

Resource helps MCOs develop their own programs, but also names policy hurdles

Washington, DC, November 1, 2018 – The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI), the non-profit Medicaid research group, tackles the issue of maternal depression and anxiety with a new report that describes the scope of the problem, what plans are already doing to combat it, and what stands in the way of further progress.  Produced with support from the California Health Care Foundation, it also offers tools that plans can use as a guideline to craft their own prevention and treatment programs.

Maternal behavioral health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, are critical public health concerns for reproductive-aged women, infants, and families. To highlight the important work in this space, the Institute for Medicaid Innovation conducted a national environmental scan to collect initiatives that address maternal depression and anxiety from Medicaid health plans and community-based organizations.

This new report provides an overview of maternal depression and anxiety, risk factors, outcomes, and implications of maternal behavioral health disorders, as well as in-depth case studies from Medicaid plans and community-based organizations that address these issues. Health plans represented in the report include Gateway Health Plan, Health Plan of San Joaquin, BlueCare Tennessee, and a collaboration between Maternal Mental Health NOW and L.A. Care. The report also contains a checklist for health plans that outline critical steps in the provider network, medical benefit, and pharmacy benefit that will assist them in developing maternal depression and anxiety initiatives.

However, the report paints a gloomy picture when it comes to access and integrated care.  The findings highlight policy barriers that inhibit pregnant moms enrolled in the Medicaid program from accessing behavioral health services in coordination with their prenatal care. 

“Medicaid health plans in an active partnership with community-based organizations are leading these innovations to address maternal depression and anxiety, including efforts ensuring pregnant women have access to them” noted Jennifer E. Moore, PhD, RN, executive director of IMI.  “However, there are significant barriers such as policies that prevent behavioral and medical care integration.  We hope that this report is able to inform the public, policymakers, clinicians, and researchers about the crucial role of Medicaid in addressing maternal behavioral health disorders and the current efforts in California and nationwide.”

Access the report here and view the one pager here.

About the Institute for Medicaid Innovation
The Institute for Medicaid Innovation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit research organization that provides independent, nonpartisan information and analysis that informs Medicaid policy and improves the health of the nation.

Media contact:

Lydia Tonkonow