Tracking Women’s Mental Health Policy in Texas: Implementation of House Bill 2466 (85 R)

On June 15, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Texas’ first post-partum depression screening legislation. HB 2466, authored by Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston), allows for Texas Health Steps provider reimbursement for post-partum depression during the twelve-month period following delivery. Reimbursement will be funded through an infant’s Medicaid or perinatal CHIP.

Parents with postpartum depression experience a range of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes including sadness, anxiety and exhaustion that interfere with day-to-day life and routines. Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth, with approximately one-in-nine women experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy and/or the first year after childbirth. Postpartum depression, and other perinatal mood disorders, can result in adverse maternal, infant and child outcomes, including lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and shorter duration, poor maternal and infant bonding and infant developmental disorders.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty or overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Feeling moody, irritable or restless
  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when her baby is asleep
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems and muscle pain
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment to her baby
  • Persistently doubting her ability to care for her baby
  • Thinking of harming herself or her baby.

Under current state law, women who receive prenatal care through Medicaid for Pregnant Women remain eligible for Medicaid benefits for 60 days following delivery. During this time, Medicaid will cover the postpartum visits as well as medication and follow-up necessary for women who are diagnosed with postpartum depression. However, postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders can present anytime within the first four-to-six weeks up to 12 months following childbirth. When coverage under Medicaid for Pregnant Women ends, a woman will transition to the Healthy Texas Women Program, if she meets eligibility requirements.

For more information on postpartum depression, click here.

To review HB 2466’s draft policy language or provide public comment, click here before Tuesday, December 19.

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