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WellPoint Launches and Expands Maternity Depression Program

Awareness campaign targets new mothers in need of support

INDIANAPOLIS, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc., today announced the launch and expansion of the Maternity Depression Program, offered by its affiliated health plans, which provides new moms with depression screenings, education, and support to help them obtain behavioral health treatment during and post-pregnancy.

The Maternity Depression Program is designed to provide information and screening tools to all affiliated health plan members who are new or expectant mothers while simultaneously identifying members who are at high risk for depression. Launched last year, it is currently available to members of affiliated health plans in California, Georgia, Colorado and Nevada and in the central region states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri. The program will be introduced to all remaining members by the end of this year.

Additionally, because postpartum depression (PPD) is usually underdetected and undertreated, the tool kits will be made available to OB/GYN practitioners and pediatricians. These "tool kits" include physician Continuing Medical Education course material, educational handouts for their patients, and sample screening tools.

"The Maternity Depression Program provides new mothers, their family members and physicians with information and tools to identify women at risk for postpartum depression. The physician can then evaluate the mother to better understand her concerns and behavioral changes or if there are signs of significant depression," said Michael Brase, M.D., vice president and medical director for WellPoint's behavioral health unit. "We developed provider tool kits as an enhancement to the Maternity Depression Program after conducting several focus groups with pediatricians, OB/GYNs, primary care physicians and women who have infants."

Members who are identified as being at risk of PPD are encouraged to either share the results with their physician or contact a Behavioral Health Clinician for additional screening, referrals or coordination with providers. If a member needs extra support she can call to enroll in the program and the clinician will provide follow-up calls as necessary. Members can receive depression education, assistance in understanding their treatment options and support to obtain appropriate care. Behavioral Health staff can help to coordinate care with the member's medical team. Routine follow-up is also provided until such time that the member is fully engaged in treatment.

The Maternity Depression Program is just the latest initiative offered by WellPoint's affiliated health plans to help ensure healthy pregnancies and deliveries for our members. Expectant mothers also have access to the Future Moms program, which offers support from trained obstetrical nurses who are just a phone call away. Future Moms is a component of 360 Degree Health(R), a robust benefits program to comprehensively address preventive care, health improvement and care coordination.

Members wishing to obtain more information can call (866) 785-2789.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at .

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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