New York – State Senator Liz Krueger released the following statement today in reaction to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance informing insurers of their responsibility to cover screening for maternal depression under the Affordable Care Act. The DFS guidance follows recommendations issued in January by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), that women should be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth:

“Maternal depression is a serious condition facing many new and expecting mothers, and too many suffer needlessly when it goes undiagnosed and untreated. I commend the Governor for bringing New York State into compliance with the USPSTF screening recommendations. As we identify more and more people suffering from maternal depression, it is vital that we take the next step and ensure treatment is available to those who need it. I hope the Governor will continue to lead on this important issue by making sure New York State invests more resources in strengthening and expanding treatment options, so that all our families can get the help they need.”

The USPSTF guidelines recommend that clinicians should screen pregnant women and new mothers. The recommendation received a “B” rating from the Task Force, meaning that screening for maternal depression must now be covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Krueger is the sponsor of a bill (S6715/A9385), along with Assembly Member Diana C. Richardson, that would improve treatment options for women diagnosed with maternal depression. The bill requires the creation of a centralized list of providers who treat maternal depression, available community resources, and peer support groups, which would help providers conducting screenings to make appropriate referrals and get more women access to treatment. The bill also requires the state to invest in maternal depression treatment resources including strengthening and expanding a statewide hotline, encouraging peer support and telemedicine options, and improving the capacity of referral networks.