New Policy on Well-Child Visits Boosts Perinatal/Maternal Depression Screening
“Primary care clinicians caring for infants have important opportunities to promote healthy social-emotional development through screening for postpartum depression in early infancy,” said CCNC’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Marian Earls, M.D., MTS, FAAP. “Medicaid policy and reimbursement now support systematic screening and identification of community resources for treatment and referral of the depressed mother. North Carolina is one of the first states to take this step.”
The long-term, negative health effects of maternal depression on the infant, mother and family are now well known. CMS has authorized state Medicaid agencies to provide the service as part of well-child visits, but North Carolina is one of the first states to do so.
In North Carolina, the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) has begun including routine postpartum depression screening as part of EPSDT infant visits from ages 1-month to 6-months. The 99420 CPT code is being used for all postpartum depression screens of the mother for the benefit of the infant. CCNC has already developed a convenient handout that outlines key coding information.
Pediatrics practices working to become familiar with maternal depression screening should refer to the AAP’s Bright Futures and Preventive Services Coding checklist. Note: Beginning in January of 2017, CPT Code 99420 will be revised, and a new code will added to address the service.
Dr. Earls has been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of early screening," said CCNC's president and CEO Allen Dobson. Earls was the lead author of AAP’s oft-cited 2010 clinical report entitled "Incorporating Recognition and Management of perinatal and postpartum Depression into Pediatric Practice."