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New family-focused model of depression care needed to minimize risks
Date:6/10/2009

remove barriers that inhibit more coordinated care across organizations and among service providers. Children and adults are treated by separate health care providers who too often do not look at the whole family, and many health and social services are disconnected. Few programs and health care providers routinely ask patients with depression if they have children and if their depression has affected their family members. Health plans are not geared to pay for services delivered in nontraditional settings.

Fathers and mothers may benefit from counseling to improve their parenting and coping skills, and children may need treatment for emotional, behavioral, or physical problems. Services need to be available in a range of locations that include not just obstetrics-gynecology and pediatric clinics, but also Head Start facilities, schools, prisons, other community locations, and even people's homes, the report says. This means that clinicians must gain experience in delivering services in a variety of settings. States should revise policies that prohibit services outside of clinical settings. Federal agencies should establish a national program to improve the abilities of primary care providers, mental health professionals, and those who treat substance abuse to identify, treat, and prevent depression and lessen its effects on children of all ages.

Public and private health insurance plans should support access to screening, treatment, and supportive services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could extend Medicaid services provided to new mothers to two years after birth, which includes a critical period of early childhood development, the report says. CMS could reimburse primary care providers for mental health services and cover preventive services for children at risk of developing health problems, rather than covering only treatment. Private health plans could pay for parental depression screening and treatment, a
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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