2021: Medicaid.  The American Rescue Plan extended pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage from 60 days to a full year postpartum.

2020: Federal legislation (through the National Defense Authorization Act).

  • Military Moms Mental Health Assessment Act: The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study on prenatal and postpartum mental health conditions among members of the Armed Forces and the dependents of such members. Read the entire text of the law.
  • TRICARE Coverage for Doula Support Act:  The Secretary of Defense shall commence carrying out a 5-year demonstration project designed to evaluate the cost, quality of care, and impact on maternal and fetal outcomes of using extramedical maternal health providers (doulas and lactation consultants) under the TRICARE program to determine the appropriateness of making coverage of such providers under the TRICARE program permanent.  Read the entire text of the law.

2020: Federal funding.  Congress provided $3 million to establish and maintain a maternal mental health hotline to be staffed by qualified counselors, 24 hours a day. Funding may also be used for outreach to raise awareness about maternal mental health issues and the hotline.  Learn more HERE.

2020: President’s budget.  The President’s 2020 Budget directed the Secretary of the Health and Human Services agency to provide a report about how agencies address awareness, screening, diagnosis and treatment for maternal mental health issues. 

2018: Federal funding. The initial round of funding for Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act was released and the Department of Health and Human Services (through the Health Resources and Services Administration) announced a competitive grant process for the states. Thirty states and territories applied for these grants; however, due to limited funding of $5 million, only seven states (Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont) were awarded grants to implement programs addressing maternal mental health.  Read the HRSA announcement.

2016: Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act. The United States Congress enacted the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.  This law provides funding for programs addressing maternal mental health issues at the state level.  Funding will be provided for FY 2019-2023.  Read the entire text of the law.

2010: The MOTHERS Act. The United States Congress passed (but did not fund) the MOTHER’S Act which called for research into the causes of and best treatments for postpartum depression, a public awareness campaign, a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and psychosis, and a grant program to fund treatment services.  While The MOTHERS Act was not funded, it nevertheless was historically significant as it introduced language about postpartum depression into the federal legislative record and garnered support and interest across political parties.  Read the entire text of the law

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March 2021, gives states the ability to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage from 60 days postpartum to a full year postpartum.  Learn more from the Kaiser Family Foundation HERE.

LEGISLATION.

The following pieces of legislation were included in the National Defense Authorization Act to address maternal mental health:

  1. Military Mothers Mental Health Assessment Act.  The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study on prenatal and postpartum mental health conditions among members of the Armed Forces and the dependents of such members. Read the entire text of this legislation HERE.
  2. TRICARE Coverage for Doulas Support Act.  The Secretary of Defense shall commence carrying out a 5-year demonstration project designed to evaluate the cost, quality of care, and impact on maternal and fetal outcomes of using extramedical maternal health providers (doulas and lactation consultants) under the TRICARE program to determine the appropriateness of making coverage of such providers under the TRICARE program permanent.  Read the entire text of this legislation HERE.

FUNDING.

The following programs were funded in the FY2021 federal budget:

  1. Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act ($5 million).  Funding will continue to provide grants to states to address maternal mental health.  Seven states (Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont) will each receive a total of $3.2 million over the lifetime of the program (2019-2023).  Learn more HERE.
  2. Maternal Mental Health Hotline ($3 million).  Funding will be used to to establish and maintain a maternal mental health hotline to be staffed by qualified counselors, 24 hours a day. Funding may also be used for outreach to raise awareness about maternal mental health issues and the hotline.  Learn more HERE.

The 2020 Budget includes language requiring the Secretary of the Health and Human Services agency to convene agencies to determine what further role each should play in awareness, screening, diagnosis and treatment. The report must be issued to Congress by Wednesday June 17, 2020.

Maternal Mental Health.—The Committee is concerned that up
to 20 percent of new or expectant mothers will experience a maternal
mental health disorder during pregnancy or within the first
year after childbirth—such as depression, anxiety, or postpartum
psychosis. Untreated maternal mental health disorders negatively
impact the short and long-term health of affected mothers and
their children, with symptoms leading to adverse birth outcomes,
impaired maternal-infant bonding, poor infant growth, childhood
emotional and behavioral problems, and significant medical and
economic cost. The Committee directs the Secretary to submit a report,
in consultation with HRSA, SAMSHA, CDC, CMS, Office of
the Surgeon General, Office on Women’s Health, and Office of Minority
Health, to the Committees on Appropriations within 180
days of enactment of this Act on the role that each agency can take
to address gaps in maternal mental health public awareness,
screening, diagnosis and delivery for pregnant and postpartum
women.

In 2018, the initial round of funding ($5 million) for Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows was released.  The Department of Health and Human Services (through the Health Resources and Services Administration) announced a competitive grant process for states to apply for grants. Seven states (Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont) will each receive $3.2 million over the lifetime of the program (2019-2023).  Read the HRSA announcement.

Legislation

In 2016, the United States Congress enacted the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.  This law provides funding, in the form of grants to the states, for programs addressing maternal mental health (MMH) conditions at the state level.  Read the entire text of the law.

Grant Process

The Health and Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, was charged with administering the grants funded through the 21st Century Cures Act.  In 2018, 30 states and the District of Columbia applied for these grants; seven states were each awarded 5-year grants (totaling $3.2 million for each state for the lifetime of the program).

In 2010, the United States Congress passed (but never funded) the MOTHER’S Act which called for research into the causes of and best treatments for postpartum depression, a public awareness campaign, a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and psychosis, and a grant program to fund treatment services.  While The MOTHERS Act was never funded, it nevertheless was historically significant as it introduced language about postpartum depression into the federal legislative record and garnered support and interest across political parties.  Read the entire text of the law